Sabres forward Kyle Okposo shares what it's like to spend Thanksgiving on the road with the team in Washington.
I ate turkey at 11 a.m. on my first Thanksgiving Day in Buffalo. It's a bit early, I know, but it was a practice day, and we had a game to get ready for the next night in Washington, D.C. The family time, the turkey, the stuffing with gravy (that's my personal favorite) - we had to squeeze all of that in at the beginning of the day.
Sure, the day was unorthodox, but that's just the way it goes when you play in the NHL. I'm gone at odd times and odd hours so we just kind of work around that and try and plan our month when the schedule comes out.
I try to be home as much as I can to be with the kids and help out, but it's a never-ending and always changing battle.
It makes it easier when you have a good group of guys to travel with. After practice, we left for Washington, D.C. We had a team stretch like we always do after a flight, and then we had a dinner waiting for the entire team at the hotel. It was a really nice spread. We were appreciative of all the staff there who spent their Thanksgiving cooking for us.
It was fun to just kind of hang out with the guys, have a little stretch and then we sat down and had some dinner for about 45 minutes. Then we just relaxed.
It's funny, there a lot of guys on the team who come from countries where they don't celebrate Thanksgiving. They probably don't know why we just stuff our faces and watch football for an entire day, but I'm sure they appreciate it, too.
I'm two months into my first season in Buffalo, and so far I've really enjoyed the time spent with my new teammates. We've got a tight-knit group and I think the guys are really close. We want to win and that's what brings us together.
It's only going to get better from here.