With the Bruins gearing up for their preseason-concluding and season-opening trip to Europe, the anticipation throughout the locker room is rather apparent. Though some may know the respective areas of Belfast and the Czech Republic better than others, all seem to be genuinely excited for the trip.
Count Dennis Seidenberg among those players, but factor in that when he speaks of heading overseas to open the regular season, he speaks from experience. Last season, he, Gregory Campbell, Nathan Horton, and the rest of the Panthers made the trek to Finland for a couple of preseason games and two regular season matchups with the Blackhawks, the latter a series in which the Panthers split with the eventual Stanley Cup champions.
As much as Seidenberg, a native of Germany, enjoyed the trip, he found the travel of the preseason to be a bit much, and it would be hard to blame him based on the team’s preseason schedule: at Novia Scotia, at Ottawa, at Montreal, at Edmonton, at Calgary, at Dallas, home at Florida, and finally to Finland. Given that the Bruins’ travel this preseason has consisted of Montreal, New York, and DC as its road games, Seidenberg isn’t concerned the side effects that accompany a hectic schedule will be factor this time around.
“This year we definitely didn’t have all the traveling we had with the Panthers. We had a couple of road games, but they were pretty close, so traveling wasn’t a problem at all,” Seidenberg said. “I think we’ll get in there a little more rested, a little better prepared and it should be a good experience for everybody.”
The Panthers took the first game in a shootout. That was the good. The bad was the lesson that a hockey player’s schedule and jet lag don’t exactly fit together well. The Panthers played all four of their European games in the span of six days, while the Bruins arrive Thursday morning and will play their four games over an eight-day span (Oct. 2-10).
“The tough part was the time change, because every day around noon or three or four, you just wanted to go to sleep and sleep for the rest of the night,” Seidenberg said. “You just can’t do that. It takes a few days to get used to it, but that’s why we’re going over there a little earlier.”
Belfast is five hours ahead of EST, while Prague is six hours ahead. Seidenberg added that dealing with each countries quirks — whether they be food or anything else — does make the experience “a little bit different” but that “you get used to it pretty quick.”
Though nobody on the squad is actually from Prague and David Krejci hasn’t been there in several years, Seidenberg is among the players expecting family at the games. Hailing from Villingen-Schwenningen, West Germany, Seidenberg’s family will make the six-hour drive to Prague. The team’s final preseason game will be played in Liberec, which is about an hour north of Prague. With Villingen-Schenningen near the Swiss border and Liberec right around the Poland border, Seidenberg doesn’t expect his family to make that trip.