The San Jose Sharks departed for New York City this morning to begin their season long eight-game trip. Eight contests will be played in 14 days, but fortunately, all but one will be played in the Eastern Time zone. The trip included the New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues.
It is not the longest trip in Sharks history (that was a 10-game trip in 1998-99), but it is the longest for some players. Plus the Sharks play four games in five nights to kick off the trek.
“This is the first time in my career that I’m going to be on the road this long,” said Craig Rivet. “I can’t remember the last time I played four games in five nights. Two back-to-back games are going to be difficult to start off this road trip, but we’re going to be looking to get off on the right foot.”
“Seventeen days,” stated Joe Pavelski
. “I’ve never been on one this long. I’ve been trying to figure out how to pack for it. The longest trip (at the University of Wisconsin) was only four or five days. “
San Jose does receive a travel break as they will base out of Manhattan for five days when playing the Rangers, Islanders and Devils.
“New York is a big city,” said Rivet. “There’s a lot to do I’ve always had the mindset that I enjoy New York, but you can do too much. I think I’m just going to take a little walk down the strip there and maybe do a little shopping. Grab some dinner or some lunch and try not to do too much.”
A few players have family that will be in the Big Apple at the same time.
“I’ve got my family coming into New York so we’ll probably go out to dinner and do some things,” said Cheechoo.
“My parents are going to be in New York for a couple of days and then they go home from there,” said Christian Ehrhoff.
“I have quite a few of my Vermont buddies coming up to see us in New York,” said Mitchell. “My brother and a couple really good friends from Montreal are coming as well, so it will be fun. I’ve been twice (to New York). I went to the Lion King with my girlfriend, the Lion King. It was fun. There is a lot of tradition in that rink (MSG).”
For others, they will be making their maiden voyage to New York.
“No, I’ve never been to New York,” said Vlasic. “It will be nice to visit some new cities. I’ve never been to New Jersey, Pittsburgh, or Philadelphia so it will be nice to see.”
“No I’ve never been (New York) so I’m kind of excited to see what it’s all about,” said Pavelski. “Madison Square Garden should be very exciting. I’m looking forward to it.”
Many point out that the road can be good for clubs as the players get to bond with each other and become closer that they already are.
“This team is my second family,” said Rivet. “When I’m not at home with my wife and kids, 95 percent of my time is spent with these guys on the team. When we’re on the road, we eat together, when we’re not at the rink we watch movies together, just hang out with each other.”
Many hang out by simply finding a mall.
“We always like to go to the mall and hang out there a little bit,” said Ehrhoff. “Go see some movies that are out. I don’t even know what’s out right now but I usually just check the movie the day before I go and then I go see it. We watch DVD’s too”
Still after too long of a time period, players might need a break from each other.
“I always bring a book on the road for when you need a bit of quiet time,” said Rivet. “You do spend a lot of time with these guys and sometimes you just need a couple hours to yourself. Whether it's rest, reading a book or something like that. I like John Grisham. I just finished one and I’ll probably be looking to start another one.”
“I have a couple different books right now,” said Cheechoo. “One by Matthew Rowley, his new one that just came out. I got one by Stephen King called ‘Blaze’. After that I better hit the bookstore to get some more because I’ve been reading a lot. I always have my PSP on me so Ill play a little of that too.”
Preparation will be a big fact for the Sharks if they want to continue their league best road record.
“Most guys on this team, a lot of us have played in the minors before and you have to take long road trips,” said Cheechoo. “Guys know you have to take care of yourself. Get the right amount of sleep. You have to drink a lot of fluids, lots of Gatorade and water to stay hydrated.”
“You really need to get your rest,” said Vlasic. “That’s the key. If you have time off you can do some stuff but the key is getting enough rest. Take it easy. Get your rest early and you’ll be in good shape for the rest of the road trip”. NEXT GAME
The Sharks will visit the New York Rangers on Sunday and the 10 a.m. contest will be carried on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.