The Chicago Blackhawks defeated Eisbaren Berlin 3-1 in the 2019 NHL Global Series Challenge at Mercedes-Benz Arena on Sunday. They open their regular season against the Philadelphia Flyers in the Global Series at O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic on Oct. 4 (2 p.m. ET; NHLN, NBCSP, NBDSPCH, NHL.TV).
Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan will detail his experiences on the trip in his own NHL.com blog. In de Haan's second entry, he talks of his Trabant limo tour, taking in the Eisbaren game atmosphere as a spectator and possibly missing the season opener.
I took a Trabant limo tour of Berlin with Drake Caggiula on Saturday and it was awesome. It was nice to almost be forced to do something. With jet lag, everyone was pretty gassed, so it was nice to have that opportunity to go see the city and learn a little bit about the history of everything Berlin. It was a lot of fun and we got to ride around in that very interesting automobile.
The car must have been six feet wide. I mean, it was pretty much a pop can on wheels. Sebastian, our tour guide, was pretty fun too. He was a really knowledgeable, down-to-earth guy and spoke great English. He was saying there are actually tours of the four-seaters. They're not stretch limos, they're just regular sedans and it's like a self-driving tour. We actually passed one of them along the way. We were out the roof, giving a thumb's up and they were giving it back.
Sebastian was letting Drake and I stand out of the rag-top roof the whole time and he was playing David Hasselhoff on the radio for most of the ride. I don't know if you can get much more German and much more Berlin than that. It was pretty wicked.
Watching the Blackhawks-Eisbaren Berlin game on Sunday was great. I've never been to an English Premiere soccer game but I'm kind of assuming that's what the atmosphere feels like, except you multiply the stadium by two or three. The crowd was in it the whole time. I have a couple of friends who still play in the German league and they love it. There's a lot of guys who come over here and enjoy the lifestyle. They don't necessarily have to sit at a cubicle to make a living, they still get to play hockey and enjoy the game. And playing in stadiums like Mercedes-Benz Arena, I'm sure, makes it really enjoyable. I mean, the building's beautiful. I don't know how old it is, but it's great. Speaking on behalf of the guys who didn't get to play tonight, injured guys and scratches, we really enjoyed the atmosphere from upstairs where we were watching.
Of course, it was disappointing not to play. These are feathers in the cap, right? It's just something you can put on your resume at the end of the day. But just to be a part of the opportunity to come over is something I'm very grateful for. Just to be a part of a team like this and an organization that's top notch, it's been a lot of fun so far.
Health-wise, I'm on the right track. We don't really have a timeline at the moment; we're going day by day. Hopefully I can get in the season opener against the Flyers, but I think in the next couple of weeks when we get back to Chicago, that'll be a more realistic timeline. I'm just doing what the trainers are asking. The staff's been good about it; they want me to be around when hockey matters, and we're jockeying for playoff position. Everyone's been really understanding.
I'm excited to get to Prague. I've never been there, and I've only heard good things about the city. But I almost wish we had another day in Berlin, to be honest. There's so much history, good and bad, but it's a very iconic place and it'd be nice to see more sights. I went to the Holocaust Memorial by our hotel today. It's pretty gut-wrenching, it's pretty eerie. Me and a couple of the guys did the tour and there were people walking around who were shedding tears. I'm glad we got to do something like that because it's a very integral part of history.
There's so much more to do here in Berlin, but I'm really looking forward to Prague. I think everyone is. It'll be a nice change of scenery.