We asked Ryan Johnson to share some details with us from the road - and he didn't disappoint. Johnson gives us the insider's perspective on the Canucks road trip.
I can’t believe it’s already March and we’re only 5 weeks away from playoffs! You can really feel how the intensity of the team has changed. We’re on the road in California this week, and man, what a difference from the last road trip through Eastern Canada!
That trip was spent in the snow and freezing cold, whereas now we get to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. Although I have to say, the Eastern Canada road trip was great and special for a bunch of us, who got to return home and see family and friends.
But this one’s much different because we get to take our family with us. Having our moms here definitely makes for a different dynamic - a good one - but I do wish we could’ve had the win for them last night.
Road trips give you a really good chance to get to know the guys a lot more, and spend time bonding. I’ve roomed with Bernier, Kesler and Raymond this year, so I’ve gotten to know those guys especially well.
We often do team dinners when we’re on the road, which is a great way to get everyone together to share some laughs. This year Ryan Walter has run some interesting team building activities for us and has really helped with the team bonding, and translates over to what we do on the ice.
It’s great to spend time getting to know each other to really build the trust you need for this game.
We do a lot of flying throughout the season, especially in this division because every team we play is in a different time zone (unless we do the two Alberta teams back to back) and everyone has their own quirky airplane habits and routines.
I mostly sit at the back of the plane and read or listen to my iPod, so I’m not heard from much and it’s definitely quieter in my area of the plane. At the moment I’m really into Band of Horses, The Killers, Lily Allen and Thriving Ivory, so they get a lot of play on my iPod.
Flying can actually be a nice time to relax before the craziness of the next city.
It can be tough when you first get into the league though. I remember on the first road trip I went on in the NHL (with the Florida Panthers) when we went out to a team dinner, I just kept telling myself to sit and listen and not speak unless spoken to because there were so many veteran players on the team.
If I had to give advice to rookies going on their first road trip now I would tell them to pack light, be respectful of your roommate and take the time to really see the cities you are visiting.
No matter where I am, though, people always wonder why I put myself body in front of some of the hardest shots in the NHL, especially when I get injured, and what motivates me to keep doing it. I tell them that it’s plain and simple – I do it to win hockey games and if we get the win, it hurts much less. Injuries are never fun, but we have such a great training staff that takes amazing care of our daily aches and pains. Lots of ice and Advil go a long way too!
It’ll be nice to get back home to Vancouver again in a couple of days. I love the city and there are so many great attractions and things to see. One of my favourite things to do is walk around Stanley Park; it’s so peaceful and beautiful there. And when the weather’s nice I love to escape to Grouse Mountain. You feel like you’re so removed from the big city there, even though it’s so close by.
We don’t get a ton of days off, especially now with the most important stretch of the season coming up but I couldn’t be happier seeing the rink more than the parks at the moment. The Western Conference is tough and we’ve got to spend this last month working together to ensure we make playoffs.