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Inside the Sharks All-Star Vacations

by Alison High / San Jose Sharks
For Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Dan Boyle and Devin Setoguchi, representing their franchise at the All-Star Game during the Canadien’s centennial anniversary was a once in a lifetime opportunity. But for the nineteen Sharks who didn’t have to brave the freezing temperatures in Montreal, getting five days off was a pretty good consolation prize.

After defeating the Canucks in overtime on Tuesday night, these professional athletes wasted no time jetting to their favorite five-star vacation spots. Hawaii, Las Vegas, and Sonoma topped the list of popular destinations and since there is something appealing about knowing where super stars spend their free time, this became the first topic of conversation on Monday at morning skate.

Rob Blake and Ryane Clowe opted for a tropical destination, vacationing in Hawaii on the island of Maui. Blake was joined by his family and Clowe by his girlfriend at the Grand Wailea Resort. Although he still has wiring below his teeth and a plate in his jaw, Blake was able to describe the trip with a big smile on his face.

“It was good,” said Blake. “We took the kids over and we had a few relaxing days. It was nice to get away and get a change of atmosphere for a little bit.”

About spending time with his team mate Clowe, Blake joked, “We spent some time there and he got to see what kids were like.”

According to Clowe, it wasn’t too bad.

“He didn’t stick them with me for babysitting,” explained the 26-year-old left wing. “We actually went surfing with them a couple times.”

The group spent some time surfing together, a hobby Clowe has been perfecting in Santa Cruz. The Fermeuse, Newfoundland native brought his own surf board on the trip to Maui, but it was his girlfriend who caught the most waves.

“My girlfriend’s better than me,” explained Clowe. “I’m still getting used to it. Blakey’s pretty good. His son caught his first wave so he was pumped.”

Just outside the Grand Wailea Resort is the Four Season Resort, which hosted some players from the Vancouver Canucks. Former Sharks forward Steve Bernier was among the group and Clowe made sure to say hello to his old team mate before returning back to San Jose.

Like Blake and Clowe, Sharks left wing Milan Michalek also headed for the sunshine. He and his girlfriend traveled to a resort located half an hour away from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The 24-year-old native of the Czech Republic wasn’t able to get any of the All-Star Game coverage in his resort. And that was fine by him.

“I didn’t see anything,” he joked. “I see those guys enough.”

Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov was in Atlanta for last year’s All-Star Game, shutting out the Eastern Conference All-Stars for his entire period of play. This year, he made a shorter trip up to Sonoma and then back down to Half Moon Bay for his All-Star getaway. Unfortunately for Nabby, the weather wasn’t too nice in Sonoma so he opted out of wine tasting.

Sharks defenseman Brad Lukowich and left wing Jody Shelley also enjoyed Sonoma with their wives.

Another popular destination among Sharks players was Las Vegas. Sharks defensemen Douglas Murray and Alexei Semenov, center Marcel Goc and goaltender Brian Boucher all headed to Sin City for their break.

32-year-old Boucher flew in his parents from Rhode Island so he and his wife could enjoy a relaxing weekend in Las Vegas without the kids. Boucher enjoyed not one, but two massages over the three-day trip.

“We chose to just chill, do the spa, that type of stuff,” said Boucher. “I got two massages. I went with a deep tissue the first day and then a more classic massage the second day.”

The first practice after five days off is never easy. But according to Nabokov, Monday’s practice was one of the hardest of the year.

“After the five day break you have to get back and get going,” explained the Sharks starting goaltender. “It’s probably the hardest practice of the year. Sprints aren’t something new, but how you feel, that’s something new.”

The players were led by Assistant Coaches Todd Richards and Jay Woodcroft as well as Development Coach Mike Ricci. With Todd McLellan already on his way to meet the team in Colorado, he left his assistants at the helm of his ship. The Western Conference All-Star Coach instructed his staff to get the players skating.

“After the All-Star Game I talked to Todd and his message was that he wanted the guys to skate,” said Woodcroft. “He wanted them to do 200-foot drills so they were ready for tomorrow.”

That meant lots and lots of skating. Over the one-hour practice session, the players were constantly moving and after the drills they were hunched over catching their breath. At the end of the session, they were doing sprints and when they walked into the locker room, they were still tired.

“The strength of our game is our skating and when you’ve been off for a long time, that’s the first thing that goes,” added Woodcroft. “And for them to feel good about themselves you have to get up and down the ice.

“The guys worked hard today and they worked on getting their timing and feel back," he said. "It was a tough practice, but it was a good one. At the end of the sixty minutes, the players all felt better about their game and they’re hopefully ready for tomorrow night.”

The Sharks will embark on a one-game road trip in Colorado when they face the Avalanche on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast on CSN, 98.5 KFOX FM and

While the Sharks were originally supposed to depart from San Jose on their way to Colorado this afternoon, the flight was delayed until 8:00 p.m.
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