Game-day routines, final preparations kick into gear
Philadelphia Flyers forward Danny Briere will blog about his Winter Classic experience exclusively for NHL.com, from his first turns on the ice at Citizens Bank Park and the family skate, to the his thoughts the morning of the game, to a wrap-up of the entire Classic experience
As players we all have routines we go through to get ready, and we try to stick to them as closely as possible whether it's a 7 o'clock start or a 1 o'clock start.
So when the NHL announced today's game was being pushed back, most players would agree with me that moving the game from 1 to 3 was a big relief. There's so much that goes into our preparation and getting your food in the morning. When you play at 1 o'clock, you can't eat 2-3 hours before the game, so you have to get up really early to eat, so you're not coming in with a full stomach before the game. Moving the game back gives you a chance to sleep an extra hour, an hour and a half, at least. Everything in your preparation, you have more time, you're not rushed, you have that much more time to get ready for the game. We were all happy the game was pushed back a couple hours.
The real hard focus started last night, thinking about the game, thinking about different players, what you're going to do in different situations, who you're going to face, the defensemen, the goalies -- especially for me. The system, what they like to do and what you're going to see the next day. That's when it started.
This morning I woke up and went down to eat with a couple guys, and we talked about what it's going to be like, what to expect. That's all part of the preparation as well. Having the chance to chat with your teammates about what to expect gives you a different perspective on what's going to happen out there.
The ride in isn't going to be much different for me. I want to try to keep it as close as possible to what I usually do. It's going to be a quiet ride. I don't talk very much, just thinking about the game, thinking about what you're going to see, what you're going to see on the breakout, things like that. It's really going to be a hard focus again on the ride in. It's going to be very, very quiet.
For me, my routine, a lot of it is taking care of your equipment -- your sticks, your skates -- making sure everything is in place, and then you try to follow the same routine. We're all different as far as warming up, stretching. I have my own routine of stretching out, and an active stretch before the game. Then about half an hour before warm-ups I take 5-10 minutes to wind down and get into deeper thoughts about the game, and then it's just the rush of getting dressed and jumping on the ice and going.