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Global Series

Flyers focus on getting proper sleep ahead of Global Series

Philadelphia gets advice from specialist to help counter long trip to Europe

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- The Philadelphia Flyers brought in a sleep specialist to help them handle the travel and time changes as part of their preparation for the NHL Global Series.

"There is going to be sleep debt, there's going to be jet lag, we can't eliminate that," head of strength and conditioning Chris Osman said Sunday. "Whatever we can do to fill in the gaps through naps, staying over when we can stay over, that'll help us."

It was Osman's idea to bring in Dr. Brandon Marcello, who formerly was director of strength and conditioning at Stanford University and now consults on high-performance strategies with the United States military as well as professional sports teams.

Osman said Marcello focused on giving players and coaches practical tips on how to get more and better sleep for long trips, including this one to Europe.

"A lot of the tips come from room temperature in your hotel room, eliminating a much blue light as possible," Osman said. "Guys are always going to be on their phones or watching video, those type of things. What can we do to alleviate all the blue light? When you're in the rink there's blue light. Those things affect melatonin, how it's released. Little things like that go a long way."

Video: Flyers hit the ice for practice in Lausanne

For the 7 1/2-hour flight from Philadelphia to Geneva, Switzerland on Friday, the players were provided with ostrich pillows, which fit around the head and neck, as well as eyeshades and ear plugs.

The tips seemed to help.

"I slept five hours," forward Scott Laughton said. "I was pretty pumped about that. Woke up when we landed. Usually I can never sleep on flights or trains or buses. That was nice, kind of made me feel better."

Forward Oskar Lindblom said he also benefited from Marcello's session.

"I don't usually use those [eyeshades] so I got one of those and that helped a lot, got a little darker on the plane," he said. "And ear plugs, usually I use air pods but it was better with the ear plugs. Stuff you know about but don't usually use it, but I used it this time and it felt pretty good."

Osman said in general he heard positive feedback from the players.

"We had a bunch of guys that said they slept better than they expected to," he said. "It was a really nice plane and we could lay down so that helps. ... Lot of guys said they slept better than they [normally] did and it'll help us moving forward."

After playing their preseason finale against Lausanne at Vaudoise Arena on Monday (2 p.m. ET; NHLN, NBCSP+, NHL.TV), the Flyers will play their season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks at O2 Arena in Prague on Friday (2 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN360, NBCSP, NBCSCH, NHL.TV). 

They'll fly back to Philadelphia on Saturday, but the Global Series isn't their only long trip early in the season. After playing their home opener against the New Jersey Devils on Oct. 9, they travel to Western Canada for three games in five nights, starting at the Vancouver Canucks on Oct. 12 and concluding with back-to-back games at the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 15-16. 

Alain Vigneault said when he coached the Canucks, the organization used sleep science to help plan the team's travel schedule. It was something he took with him when he coached the New York Rangers and is glad the Flyers are embracing now, especially with their heavy early travel schedule.

"We've got the information, we know what to do and what we need to do off the ice to stay fresh and perform," he said.

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