Ducks on Brutal Road Trip

Posted: 10/19/2010 by bc in Uncategorized
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Four road games in six days through three time zones is tough sledding. Think not? Listen and read how often the media crew will complain and they only write and yak about it.

Really Brian Hayward, just how tough, compared to your playing days, is reciting the alphabet aloud or whatever else it is you do to stay in talking shape?

For the 23 guys sharing rooms it is more than the bonding, sight seeing, Kumbaya experience the pr department would have you believe.

A road trip is about overcoming adversity. It is getting used to sleeping in a strange bed next to a guy who snores and farts in his sleep. Think that’s funny? I know guys who intentionally loaded up on broccoly, pickled eggs and beer to get some payback.

It is regulating your body clock to perform at peak level while adjusting for time zones.

Today our Ducks leave for Columbus. One day to adjust for the time zone difference. Face Rick Nash and the Blue Jackets. Shower and take red eye hop to Philadelphia. Play the Flyers on Thursday. Take another red eye to Detroit. Find the hotel and crash hard until it’s time for practice.

Friday’s practice should be optional. If not guys who need it will be given a Princess Day. Other than adjusting for injuries or getting a guy who needs a game into the lineup, recharging and re-hydrating is job 1 on the off day of 3 games in 4 nights.

Every player is different. How you use our time to prepare is crucial. Mental preparation involves different things. There’s the must do, be emotionally ready. Emotionally ready is often dictated by the opposition. You’re just going to be in a different place emotionally if you’re matching up against a Chris Pronger or a Niklas Lidstrom.

Then there’s the like to do, depending on how much time is available. For me, I liked to visualize or see the game in my mind’s eye. It’s more than simply remembering. It’s closing your eyes and seeing different plays in all three zones and putting yourself in the play. It’s not dreaming or fantasizing.

For example, I’d visualize a team’s breakout. Then I’d imagine myself in different spots with different responsibilities, responding to the breakout.

It’s a technique I learned from Bantam coach. Before every game, Coach told us to close our eyes and see the game. Sometimes he’d a talk about situations. Sometimes he’d call a play. Sometimes he just spoke softly and encouraged us to relax and see the game we were about to play.

It’s called controlled imagination and it works.

Well after our Ducks have gained some revenge on the Wings it’s off to Dallas. No game Sunday or Monday. What a break. You can bet come Monday the coaches will have the first real practice in a week ready and waiting.

In many ways the Dallas game is the toughest game on this trip. It’s so easy to look past this game. It’s human nature to look past this game. You want to get home to familiar smells, familiar hugs and your familiar life.

It’s the only game on the trip against a Pacific Division rival. Arguably, the most important game of his road trip and it’s scheduled in the toughest spot.

I never did any trips like this on airplanes. That was above my pay grade. Mine were on buses and even in cars. And God help the guy who made ya roll down the windows when it was 40 below with the wind chill factor. Bonding, huh.

  1. buick22 says:

    Your are right D the Dallas game is the only one that really matters. (Nobody ever drank from the President’s Cup, or took it to the top of a mountain for photos) We need to get into the playoffs, and not on the last day by 1/2 a game either…

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