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Turco Talk

by Marty Turco / NHL.com
Veteran NHL goalie Marty Turco is lending his expert opinion to NHL.com in the form of his own blog. Turco Talk will be updated daily with Marty's thoughts on the Stanley Cup Final between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins. Marty can also be seen daily on the NHL Network giving analysis on NHL On the Fly at the Stanley Cup Final.

For his entry on Wednesday, June 1, Marty talks about what adjustments players have to make to their preparations for a 5 p.m. start.

VANCOUVER -- Generally speaking when you think about preparing for a 5 o'clock game a lot depends on the travel schedule, the coach's decision to skate or not skate, whether it's optional or not optional, how the body is feeling. In saying that, there's nothing like playing Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. It's almost irrelevant what time the game is going to start. Anybody will tell you that.

But, you have to put it into context and it is reality that it is a 5 o'clock start. It is reality also that the excitement around the environment of this game, the magnitude of it, all needs to be digested.

I think it's important to plan your day accordingly because sometimes our routines as hockey players get shaken when we have these earlier starts that we're not all used to. Vancouver has had a bunch of them already in these playoffs so maybe they have a better idea than the Bruins, but this is still the Stanley Cup Final so it's different. They don't know about this.

You have to put a little extra thought into your day to make sure you don't miss anything that you like to do before games. If you are skating in the morning like Roberto Luongo did today, you just bump up your day a few hours, and get rest the night before, not just that day. You have to get to bed earlier and get up earlier, and if you do everything can happen the same way.

But, if you're not going to skate, and Tim Thomas didn't, that's when you have to decide when to get up, when to eat, how much do you eat. I always found that if I ate at 1 o'clock for a 7:30 game that doesn't mean I'm going to be eating at 10:30 for a 5 o'clock game. My stomach wouldn't be awake for that kind of meal.

You can't exactly roll back the clock from a 7:30 game to a 5 o'clock game and think that's your normal routine. There are adjustments certainly to be made.

For instance, the night before the game you want to think about what your day is going to be like so when you're in it your thoughts are always in the right place. You want to be able to start that process of freeing your mind and continue it throughout the day so when you get to warm-ups and eventually puck drop you have already thought about everything and have dismissed everything.

I always had trouble earlier in my career having thoughts that got into my head, trying to squeeze them out or ignore them. It could be about your family, their comfort, or something that is going on with your body or something else going on in your life outside of hockey. Those thoughts are OK. You're human and you're going to have them at this time of the year, but the most important thing is to appreciate them, acknowledge them and then free your mind so you can play. All those things need to be compressed for a 5 o'clock game.

These days are not as easy as they seem because we like our routines so much.

For his entry on Tuesday, May 31, Marty talks about how players approach media day and what goes on the night before a new series begins.

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- I've never been in the position as the starting guy in the Stanley Cup Final, but I've been here as a black ace and I have gone to the Western Conference Finals as the starting guy -- and everything has changed to today.

I mean, it's 2011 and the media outlets that are involved, the media sources -- the digital world that we live in -- there is more pressure on what you're going to say and what you're thinking and how you articulate it. It may become more of a burden just because you know information gets out there so quickly and you know how rapidly things can escalate.

But, teams now also have the ability to have media training. Coaches and captains talk about things in the locker room before media day. They go over what should be said and what shouldn't be said. That takes a little bit of the pressure off you.

Still, you're always going to want to toe the company line so to speak, but there is more thought that goes into that day. It's kind of like a gameday because you have to prepare for media day. Whether you're not used to the attention or you're a guy who just doesn't like the attention, you have to prepare for it in order not to feel ambushed, or more or less, unprepared.

Media day can be a nerve-wracking day, but usually it goes by quicker than most expect. You get the odd, quirky question, the one that you just roll your eyes at and the one you have fun with, but as long as your attitude is in the right place and the preparation is there you can make the most of the media and the questions.

You just have to realize that this is the time of the year for those odd quirky questions. You see it the most at the Super Bowl, but hockey is getting elevated. You're going to get those questions and you're going to get the network that isn't just hockey or sports. You're going to get stuff that is off color a little bit, but that's fun. I've always said the best part of our game is our players, the personalities, the makeup of them, where they came from and how they've grown to be professional athletes and mature people. To have fun with it and make light of it on an off day by fielding those questions, not the generic ones we get every night, I know as a player and as a fan of the game you look forward to that. You look forward to getting into the soul of the players. These days are useful for that.

But, then you get to tonight, and what is that like? Speaking as a goalie, if I'm at home I'd probably go have dinner with my family and then go to the hotel at night to make sure I got uninterrupted sleep. I'd catch a move, watch the iPad now, and try to do the same thing and get to bed at the same hour. For Tim (Thomas), and maybe even for Roberto (Luongo) if the Canucks are in a hotel, they'll have the players' lounge at the team hotel where you can go hang out with the guys if you want to or you can just hang in your room.

It really depends on how your body is feeling. You might need some extra maintenance with the trainers or just some exercises or stretching routines you might do before bed time. But, you're going to get in there and lay down and put your head on the pillow, and that puck drop, that crowd, especially having played so many games here at Rogers Arena, you can just envision that crowd. You can anticipate that National Anthem and how electric that crowd is going to be with U2 strumming as you're skating around the ice.

Those thoughts come into your head when you lay down to go to bed, but you know you're going to be better off the more you think about it and prepare for it. So, the more it comes down to it the more you can turn the brain off. The night time and the morning after the skate is used to visualize and then you can just shut it off and get down to what you do best, and that's reacting and watching, figuring out what is going on on the ice so you can just play your game.


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