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Preparing for the NHL Premiere

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks
The Sharks players and staff are routinely used to cross-country flights such as San Jose to New York or San Jose to Washington, D.C. However the time on the plane will double for their trek to Germany.

“12 hours,” pointed out Heatley of the flight time.

So the question becomes, how will the staff and players entertain themselves for that time period in a confined space? There is only so much work that can be one.

“I’ve been debating that the last week,” said Heatley. “I think what you try and do is stay up a little bit, have something to eat and relax. Read some magazines, listen to some tunes. Probably the last half or three-quarters, you try to sleep.”

Sleep seems to be a common theme for most as it will not only help pass the time, but help the body be ready upon landing for a full day in Germany.

“You’re going to feel a little rough when you get over there, no matter what, but if you get a few hours sleep, I think you’re O.K.,” said Heatley.

Right wing Devin Setoguchi says the plan starts the night before.

“I want to sleep for at least half the time,” said Setoguchi. “I think we get there in the morning and go right to practice. I’ll try to get as much sleep as I can. Maybe try to stay up as late as I can Wednesday night, that way when I get on the plane, I’ll be pretty tired and sleep for most of it.”

When not sleeping, cards, movies and books will be status quo, just for longer periods of time.

“You can’t go all in too quick,” joked Heatley about playing cards on a 12 hour flight. “There is a card group here of six or eight guys. The iPad is a big thing now. A lot of iPads are out there. Everyone likes to do their own thing.”

How long can even the most ardent card players sit at the table?

“Play lots of cards,” said Boyle. “That’s pretty much all I know how to do on a plane. I don’t watch movies. I can do it (playing for 12 hours). That will be my thing.”

Board games may even make their way into the players’ plans.

“I’m usually watching a movie or TV show,” said Torrey Mitchell. “Normally just hanging out or walking around. We have a little lounge on this plane, so we’ll be able to relax a little bit and mix it up. Maybe some Scrabble.”

Yes, he was referring to the classic board game and Mitchell pulled no punches in giving a shot to some teammates who may not have measured up in previous Scrabble tilts.

“Right now I’m 2-0,” said Mitchell with a slight smile. “I’ve beaten McGinn and beaten Couture, but I need to take on a college guy. It’s not even fair.”

Others, including Patrick Marleau, will go the traditional path of the average business traveler.

“A lot of reading, a lot of movies,” said Marleau. “I have a Kindle and I have an iPod. I’ve got a lot of books already and will have a few hard copies. Right now I’m reading Andre Agassi’s Open and I’ll probably grab something quick like that.”

Everyone’s plans could change as some point when they are eight hours into the flight and it already feels like 12.

“Not so much with the cards, but it’s a long flight, so you never know,” said Marleau. “Probably a lot of mingling and talking with guys.”

Logan Couture sounded like he still needed to work on his plan, but his favorite television show will be part of the strategy.

“I have no idea, probably sleep,” said Couture. “I’ll bring my laptop and watch a couple of movies. I’ve been watching The Office. I’m a huge fan and have watched every episode. I might buy a whole season of that and watch it.”

Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan had two simple mandates for his players to follow.

“First of all we’ve got to keep hydrated,” said McLellan. “It’s a big plane and we want guys up and moving around. Then when it’s time to get some sleep, get some sleep.”

Immediately upon landing, the Sharks will follow the direction of studies that have shown the best route is to start practicing immediately. The Sharks consulted with experts at Stanford to find out the best scenarios.

“When we get there the guys will feel sluggish and won’t feel good,” said McLellan. “We already know that, they’ve already been told that. Regardless of how you feel, you’re skating. Then they can head back and get some rest.”

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