The New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers are participating in the 2018 NHL Global Series. The Devils will play a preseason game against SC Bern at PostFinance Arena in Switzerland on Monday (1:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, MSG+), and will open the regular season against the Oilers at Scandinavium in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Oct. 6. (1 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, MSG+). Devils defenseman Mirco Mueller, born in Winterthur, Switzerland, will detail his experiences on the trip in his own NHL.com blog. Here is Mueller's first entry:
WINNIPEG -- Hi hockey fans. So we just completed our last preseason game in North America with a good 5-3 win against the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place.
Obviously going on the road, with our first stop in Canada before we leave for Europe, was good. There was a nice crowd and I thought we played well. The guys are excited. I kind of noticed it back in New Jersey when we were packing up to come here. There's a lot of guys on our team who have never been to Switzerland, so it's going to be a great experience for them.
In this preseason game I had a chance to pair with Sami Vatanen for the game; he gives me a lot of confidence.
For some reason I've felt so much better about my game after playing in the World Championship in Denmark. It was a rough season for me last year with injuries, and it was tough mentally. But I thought I came back strong, played as well as I could in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and then was able to win a silver medal for Switzerland in the World Championship. I took a lot of that confidence that I got from that tournament into my summer, and entering training camp, felt like I was in good shape. I got rewarded [Thursday] by having a chance to play with [Vatanen]. I'm just hoping to keep things going in a positive direction.
Ever since this trip was announced last season, I didn't want to get my hopes up too much because, well, stuff happens in hockey with trades and that kind of stuff. You just never know. But when summer passed and then we came to camp, I had this trip in the back of my head. I'll have a lot of people coming, and I'm getting tickets for a lot of people I met through hockey. There are people coming who I probably don't even know. It'll be nice to see who shows up. For me, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
I played for the Kloten Flyers when I played in the National League in Switzerland. I know I'll have a lot of school buddies coming to the game, making the trip from Winterthur to Bern. It's about an hour and a half by train. I've played at home with my Switzerland national team teammates, and now to play at home with my Devils teammates is going to be something very exciting. Tickets sold out fast, so there's a big buzz in Bern and the country is excited for us to get there.
We have stuff planned for the weekend too.
We're scheduled to practice in Winnipeg on Friday before getting on the plane for the seven-plus hour trip to Switzerland. The trainers expect us to get some sleep on the plane, but from my experience, if I can get an hour or two of sleep, that's good. It helps a lot getting past the jet lag when you finally get there.
Some of the guys will probably play cards. I'd like to play more, but I don't know what they're playing sometimes. I like to play poker and it would be a good chance to play that since it's a longer flight. On the East Coast you don't get these long trips like I had when I was with the San Jose Sharks.
I remember playing for the Barracuda of the American Hockey League when I was with San Jose. One guy on our team had a long table with armrests that fit on the bus, so we were cruising through California and playing until 4 a.m. We had good rallies and good times. It was a different lifestyle playing in the minor leagues, and especially out West with a lot of travel.
I enjoy those things because when you have a good group of guys like we have here in New Jersey, trips like these bring everything together.
I'm not in charge of the poker game. I think Brian Boyle has the notebook; he does the scoring. I'm not a good a card player. I think the game the guys like to play is "Seven up Seven down," but I wasn't very good at it so decided not to play anymore.
A few guys have started to ask me where to go, what to buy and what to do in Switzerland. I have a few things in mind, but we'll see exactly how much time we have. I'll fill you in with the details in my next blog post, so stay tuned.
Until then, thanks for reading.