The Chicago Blackhawks open their regular season against the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2019 NHL Global Series at O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic on Friday (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 third entry, he talks about a day off in Prague and the anticipation of seeing a soccer match Wednesday.
Our full day off in Prague on Tuesday was great. I think Monday night, when we got here, was the best sleep I've gotten so far on the trip. I didn't really have a good one last night; I think the jet lag is still kicking my butt a little bit. But seeing Prague was great.
Me and a few guys went and toured the city. We were walking around for two-and-a-half, three hours, grabbed lunch and did all the touristy things. We saw Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral and that kind of stuff. It just feels a lot more like Europe here than Berlin does: the cobblestone streets, the skinny roads. We had a really good time yesterday. I think everyone was a little fatigued from everything, but it was good to get out, get some fresh air and get the blood flowing. It's a very beautiful city. We don't have anything like this back home. There are some parts in some cities that are similar to this, but the clay shingles on the roof, no skyscrapers, it's pretty unique. It's been a great experience, just another feather in the cap for everyone here.
It was good to get away from Chicago and North America and a different time zone than everyone's friends and family. We're forced to hang out with each other here and it's been a great experience. There are just so many new guys on this team this year and a trip like this can really make a team come together. There are all kinds of walks of life in this group, and it's been cool to get to know everyone. I've had no problems with anyone, and I hope the guys can say the same thing about me. It's been a really fun trip so far.
I haven't had any Czech food yet, but I can only imagine it's somewhat similar to the German food. I've heard some guys talking that they had some soup and goulash. Tonight, I think I'm going to go a little more cultured and get some good old Czech food in me.
And we're going to the Union of European Football Association Champions League match between Slavia Praha and Dortmund. I'm really looking forward to that. I've never been to a match over here; kind of follow football a little bit, and it's going to be cool to see Dortmund play. They're a pretty big team over here in Europe, and probably around the planet. They have some pretty good players on that team. Who knows? Anything can happen in these games. Sometimes they're pretty lopsided games, or the underdog comes out on top. It's going to be an experience. I'm really looking forward to it. I hope the atmosphere of our hockey game's going to be somewhat similar to that.
As for me, I'm feeling good and bad. I've still got some bumps and bruises here and I'm not sure what the plan is for Friday yet. I have to talk to the staff and coaches and go from there. I want to be healthy for March, April, May and hopefully be over-ready and over-healthy with this injury. It's just been a nagging thing going on, but it can turn from a snowball to a boulder. So I'm just trying to take it easy and do the smart thing here. But I'm not sure about playing. I feel good on the ice and we'll just go from there.