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Bruins' three-week journey finally at an end

by Adam Kimelman
Boston is one of the nicer places to be during the fall season. After Tuesday, the Bruins will get to discover it for themselves.

When the final horn sounds ending Tuesday's game in Washington, the Bruins -- finally -- will return home to get ready for a game at TD Garden. When the Capitals arrive Thursday (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US), it will mark the first time the Bruins will have played at home since a preseason game there Sept. 29.

In the interim, they will have played six games in three countries on two continents, going from Boston to Belfast to the Czech Republic to New Jersey to Washington and finally back to Boston.

"I'm a road warrior," Bruins goalie Tim Thomas said. "Not because I like to be away from my family, but I just enjoy playing in other arenas. I sort of like being the hated guy in opposing arenas."

He's certainly gotten his fill of that already this season.

"I'm a road warrior. Not because I like to be away from my family, but I just enjoy playing in other arenas. I sort of like being the hated guy in opposing arenas." -- Bruins goalie Tim Thomas

The Bruins' journey started with a preseason stop in Belfast, a five-hour flight that covered just over 2,985 miles. After a few days in Ireland, they flew another 914 miles to Liberec, Czech Republic for another preseason game. Then it was a short ride -- 54 miles -- to Prague to open the regular season against the Phoenix Coyotes with two games at the O2 Arena. The teams split the games -- the Coyotes took the opener, 5-2, but the Bruins rallied behind 29 saves from Thomas and rookie Tyler Seguin's first NHL goal to take a 3-0 victory back with them to the United States.

They flew home after the game Oct. 10, and had a few precious days to recover, recalibrate their body clocks -- Prague is six hours earlier than Boston -- and get some practice time in before the North American portion of their season kicked in.

"When we came back from Prague we happened to have those five days off in a row, which I think saved our butts as far as being capable to play well enough to get a win on Saturday," Thomas said.

First it was a trip to the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., for a 4-1 win against the Devils -- highlighted by rookie forward Jordan Caron's first NHL goal -- and then it was another 198 miles south to Verizon Center for Tuesday's game.

Then it's a 443-mile flight home to Boston to get ready for Thursday's home opener. In total, the Bruins will have traveled 8,689 miles.

While that might sound like a haul, it's nothing compared to what the Carolina Hurricanes are going through.

One of the other teams that took part in the Compuware 2010 NHL Premiere Games, the Hurricanes have three more stops on their road trip before they play their first regular-season home game.

The Hurricanes' excursion started with a 4,700-mile flight from Raleigh, N.C., to St. Petersburg, Russia for a preseason game against Russian team SKA St. Petersburg. From there it was a 180-mile trip to Helsinki, where the 'Canes got a team-building day at Sauna Island, then swept a pair of regular-season games against the Minnesota Wild at Hartwall Arena, winning 4-3 and 2-1 in a shootout.

From there it was off to Ottawa for a game against the Senators on Oct. 14; a few days after crossing an ocean, they had to cross a continent, flying 2,276 miles to Vancouver for a game Sunday at the Canucks. After that 5-1 loss, they flew south 876 miles to San Jose, where they'll face the Sharks on Tuesday.

After they play the Sharks, it'll be back on the plane, but this time it will "only" be 305 miles south to Los Angeles for Wednesday's game against the Kings. They'll have two days off before the final leg of their epic journey, 356 miles to Phoenix, where they'll play the Coyotes on Saturday.

Then, finally, they'll travel another 2,178 miles home to Raleigh, where they'll play their first home game in North Carolina on Oct. 27, when the Capitals make the short (266 miles) trip to RBC Center. It'll be the Hurricanes' first game at RBC Center since an Oct. 1 preseason game against the Thrashers.

All told, the Hurricanes will have racked up just over 14,768 miles in travel.

Contact Adam Kimelman at
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