The Chicago Blackhawks opened their regular season with a 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2019 NHL Global Series at O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic, on Friday.
Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan detailed his experiences on the trip in his own NHL.com blog. In de Haan's final entry he talks about missing Friday's game with a groin injury, seeing a soccer game on Wednesday and hopefully being ready to play soon after the team returns to Chicago.
It stinks not being able to play tonight against the Flyers, but we've got 81 more games and it's a long season.
You know, it almost feels like a waste of a trip coming all the way over here for one game and losing it. But I think it was an overall good bonding experience so there are some positives you can take out of it. There are parts of the game where we did some things well, some parts that aren't Blackhawk hockey. I think we can build off this, learn from our mistakes and move forward.
Video: Best Sights and Sounds of Global Series in Prague
Overall, the trip was great. It was a work trip. It wasn't a vacation. There were a couple of odd practice times here and there but overall it was a great experience for me, and on behalf of the guys I think I can say the same thing. It was a lot of fun. It's a really beautiful city here in Prague. It feels like Europe, with the skinny streets and cafés on every corner. It's a remarkable city and I was grateful for the experience.
The Union of European Football Association Champions League match between Slavia Praha and Dortmund on Wednesday was cool. It's amazing the energy the fans bring for 90 minutes of soccer. Sinobo Stadium isn't big by any means, but it was my first opportunity to see professional soccer in Europe, and no better opportunity than watching Champions League. For me, it was one of the highlights of the trip. I follow professional football a little bit. I've always enjoyed it and I played it all the time growing up. It was just something to check off the bucket list.
As for feeling like I'm a bigger part of the team off this trip, I'd say yes and no. You always seem to bond more when you get some game action. But overall, it was a great trip.
We've got a few days off coming up, which should help with my injury recovery, and we'll go from there. The staff's been good at guiding me along so far, kind of pulling the reins back at times too, if needed. I want to play. No one likes being part of a team and watching from the stands or the weight room or the locker room. But it's a long season and I want to be playing at key times for this team.
It'll be nice to get home. That flight is going to stink, but it's part of the grind of playing in pro sports. It'll be nice to get back home and get ready for the season in Chicago. We've got a nice seven-game homestand coming up, and in arguably one of the best buildings in the League in United Center so this could really make or break our season.