Captain Brian Gionta shares what it's like dealing with back-to-back games on the road with Sabres.com.
OTTAWA – Last night at 2:30 a.m., I was reading The Confession by John Grisham.
When you fly into Ottawa in the middle of the night and have a game the next day, you've basically got to try to gear down and settle in as quickly as possible. You're trying to maximize your sleep when you get in. For myself, I try to read to get myself tired enough to fall asleep.
On the second morning of back-to-back games, it’s a little later wakeup than normal. I like to get a stretch or a good walk in, just to kind of wake up and get loose because normally we're skating on gameday mornings. If it's on back-to-back, I normally never go on the ice even if we have an optional skate. You use enough energy the night before, so just a good stretch or a bike ride can get you going.
A later wakeup means we have a later breakfast, then after breakfast we have an hour or two before our meetings. On this trip, we didn't come down to the rink in the morning so we had all our meetings right at the hotel. After our meetings we grab a little lunch – then it’s right back to bed.
You get to the rink in the late afternoon after your nap. You do your sticks up, get your stuff ready and there's not much beyond that. After I get my sticks ready, it's about stretching and playing some soccer with the guys.
At the end of the day, it's about making sure that you're fresh. On the back-to-back days leading up to the game, you're trying to maximize your rest to stay sharp and rested. Once you come to the rink, especially after a loss like we had in New York, you're ready to get back at it.