I was really excited to hear the lockout was over. It gives us even more incentive to continue to work hard. Obviously, I am very interested to watch the Sharks play; not just to cheer for them but also to watch the systems and plays that they are using. We use many of the same systems and plays here in Worcester, so it is good to watch them in use at the NHL level.
It has also been fun watching some of the players who were on our Worcester team playing now for San Jose. Those players with San Jose right now were a big part of our team, and very good leaders in the room so it has been a little tough without them. However, it gives other guys on the team a chance to step up.
We have been in a little rut for the last few games but we've had a good week of practice to gain back our confidence. Hopefully we will end that rut soon. We have a few players missing, either in San Jose or injured, so other players will have an opportunity to step up.
When I watch NHL games, I like to follow around a particular player that I would like to play like to see what he does in certain situations. This includes the decisions he makes and some of the skills he uses. There are a lot of little things you can learn from watching the top players. For example, last week I saw one of the top centers in the NHL line up for a face-off in a different way and I have been practicing that so that I can try it in a game.
Aside from practicing, there isn't too much downtime on the road. We often do a pregame skate, meet in the morning to discuss our game plan and then have a pregame meal. Then it depends on each player. Most guys on our team like to nap back at the hotel before having a little snack and heading to the game.