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Fun in the sun? Not for business-like Wings

Saturday, 01.19.2008 / 12:00 AM ET / Features
By Matthew O'Day  - DetroitRedWings.com Intern
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Fun in the sun? Not for business-like Wings
For Dominik Hasek, the Red Wings' west coast trips can take a physical toll. But he prefers to not dwell too much on the exhausting trips.
In most cases, an extended trip from Detroit to the west coast in January might be seen as an opportunity for relaxation – a chance to enjoy some much needed sun and relaxation before enduring the rest of Michigan’s notorious winter.

For the Red Wings, however, the trip is all about business. According to goalie Dominik Hasek, “You go there, you do your best, and you go home and play maybe the next day.”

Of course, even in his 14th NHL season, Hasek does admit that it’s still tough on him.

“With the time change," he said, "it’s hard, but you try to not think about it too much. For sure, it takes a toll.”

You wouldn’t believe that the Wings have any trouble with west coast trips from looking at the 2007-08 season, though. In their first two extended trips – both of which began in October – the Wings are a combined 6-1.

And while this trip should be tough for the current NHL points leaders given the fact that two of their opponents – San Jose and Anaheim – are second and third, respectively, in points in the Western Conference, the fans may be excited to see two teams that the Wings skated with in the 2007 postseason. In fact, forward Mikael Samuelsson would agree.

“I like those trips," he said. "it’s a good series, it’s fun to play those games, and they’re fun teams to play against.”

At the same time, the new father does have an appreciation for hotel life.

“My fiancée is doing a good job here," Samuelsson said. "But it’s good to have regular sleep through the night.”

But while the team takes these trips in stride, opinion is still split when it comes to the merit of so much long distance travel. Forward Henrik Zetterberg, for example, believes that the toughest part of the swing isn’t the games they play, but the readjustment to normalcy afterward.

“The toughest part is getting home," said Zetterberg, the Wings' leading scorer. "It’s not that bad going out there, but the games and dates after you come from the west coast trip are tough on your body.”
 
Thankfully, the NHL has been somewhat kind to the Red Wings, providing them with much-needed rest after each of their first two trips – three days off at the end of the first, and five after the second.

And as defenseman Brian Rafalski notes, “Fortunately, this trip we come back and we have the all-star break, so we should be adjusted fine.”

Typically, the time between games on the road is spent practicing – getting a feel for the opponents’ buildings and ice surfaces – and players appreciate their limited downtime.

“(We do) a lot of relaxing," Samuelsson said. "It’s pretty intense when you’re not home. With
When it comes to west coast trips, the Wings like forwards Mikael Samuelsson (left) and Henrik Zetterberg (right) are split.
the first couple of days you can lie in bed and watch TV or a movie. Other than that we go out to a movie or go out to dinner, or once in a while do a team thing like bowling.”
 
In an attempt to bring some excitement to the team’s otherwise exhausting travel, this will be the Red Wings’ annual ‘Fathers' trip,’ during which players and coaches – who were often chaperoned by their parents extensively during their junior hockey careers – will have the chance to turn the tables and take their dads along.

The schedule isn’t set until the flight out of Detroit. But Samuelsson said, “I guess we have something similar to paintball – I’m not really sure though."

But no matter what the plan, the Red Wings enjoy the chance to bond as much as the fathers do.

“(My dad) knows it was a good opportunity for him," coach Mike Babcock said. "He’s been with me for one in Anaheim and two here, and it’s one of those things that hopefully dad will be on 10 more of them. Kid’s just gotta keep coaching in the league and it’ll happen.”

SCHEDULE

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AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80