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Doug Janik writes a blog usually after every road game the lightning go on. It allows fans to know what him and his team mates do when they arrive in the city they will be playing in and where they eat etc. His blogs are usually comical and pretty interesting. You don't have to be a Janik fan or a Tampa fan for that matter to enjoy these blogs so I though I would post them.

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Road Trip #9 (Washington and Ottawa – 12/18-12/21)
Doug Janik is in his first season with the Lightning, signed as a free agent from the Buffalo Sabres organization. As Janik travels throughout the NHL with the team, he’s agreed to let the fans tag along via this blog. Join Janik for a rare insider view of the life of an NHL rookie.

Well, it’s nice to finally get some results for the efforts that we’ve been putting in. Winning two on the road makes the trip home feel a lot better than last week’s, when we dropped two. When you lose, on the bus or the plane back, you can tell how disappointed the team is. It’s a bitter trip home. But, this time around there was more excitement – it was a lot more upbeat.

It’s probably that way for the coaches, too, though the plane is big enough so that the coaches and the players stay separated. The coaches and the equipment guys and the trainers fly up front; the players are in the back. In case you’re wondering, the media is in the middle.

We stayed at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, which is the same hotel we’ve stayed in before. That night, Craiger and I went out to a Brazilian restaurant for dinner. That’s one of those places where they come and cut your meat or chicken or fish right in front of you. Craiger had been there before, so it was his recommendation. It was very good. After dinner, we settled back at our room and watched some TV. We caught some of Monday Night Football and also CSI Miami. That was that for the night.

I haven’t gotten to do very many tourist things on the team road trips. It’s not that I don’t enjoy doing those things, but it all depends on what time we get to a city and how much time we have. For instance, if I only have an hour or so before dinner, I’m probably not going to be touring the Smithsonian Museum. With our travel schedule, we haven’t really had an entire free day on the road.

We were glad to get out of Washington with the two points, but it was sort of scary at the end. The Caps were coming back and skating hard. Coach called a time out, though, and settled the team down. Marc Denis came up with some big saves and shut the door on them and we got the win.

After the game on Tuesday night, we stayed over in Washington and got in some practice there on Wednesday. After practice we flew up to Ottawa and got in around 5:30 in the evening. Same hotel as last time – outside of the city, right by the rink. I even went to the same Italian restaurant as last time, with Craig and Ranger. Now, you might think I’m a creature of habit and to some degree I am; I’ll find some places I like and kind of stick to them. That’s not the case in Ottawa, however, because out there where we stay, that Italian restaurant is pretty much the only option – it’s that place or room service.

The great thing about the game in Ottawa the next night was that we worked hard and never stopped. We were down in the third period but we just continued to try to get shots on their net and eventually we tied the game and then took the lead. That was good. It’s the mark of good teams to be able to come back in the third and win. It’s a good sign.

Back home, Friday was an off day, and along with several of the guys, I wrapped up my Christmas shopping. We saw the Hulkster, Hulk Hogan, and his son shopping in the mall. He had lots of shopping bags.

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This is a good read!! :thumbsup:

He's wrong about Ottawa though, Kanata is full of good restaurants.

Thanks Amanda!!!
 

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panoo said:
He's wrong about Ottawa though, Kanata is full of good restaurants.
Although I don't eat out the last time I was there the people I was with were having an issue deciding on where to go because of the restaurants..I guess you get picky when you are an athlete who makes lots of money lol
 

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Local Heroes in Ottawa has amazing food. Such a great restaurant, I had it before and after the Sens game back in October. But it definetly was the best food Ive ever had
 

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A Quiet New Year's Eve; First Goal; Heading West; St. Louis is Unreal
Road Trip #11 (Montreal, Minnesota, Colorado, Pittsburgh - 1/1 - 1/7)


This update is overdue, I know, but after that long road trip I just wanted to relax whenever I had the chance. Anyway, it's time to catch up.

New Year's Eve was a quiet day for me. I just hung around and then watched the fireworks that they had downtown. I enjoyed it. The next day the team was off to Quebec.

Ok, I got my first goal in Montreal. That was good, but I'm not one to celebrate much. I'm very even-keeled, as they say. I was just thankful it went in and then it was right back to the game. I was relieved to finally get the first one. I had scored in the playoffs last year, but this is considered my first official NHL goal. I had been getting a few chances, and I was fortunate that one went in.

We arrived in Montreal on New Year's Day, and lots of places were closed. It actually took us three tries to find a restaurant. I went with Nick (Tarnasky) and Kuba to a nice steak and seafood place which was pretty good. Then, we went back to the Marriott the team was staying in and watched the Rose Bowl.

We played the Canadiens the next night and spent the night in Montreal. The next day we flew west to Minnesota. They're a good team. They have a great crowd there and they have a good home record. Coming off the loss in Montreal, that game was a big win for us. The entire league is full of good teams and I think that the Wild is one of them. We came out and made some big plays and got out of there with a win.

We stayed at the St. Paul Hotel, which is right across from the rink. That's an easy walk. It's St. Paul, not Minneapolis, so it's a little quieter there but there were restaurants and stuff close by. I had Italian food for dinner, at a place across the street from the hotel. I guess I'm not too adventurous in some ways; I always seem to wind up with seafood or Italian.

From there, we continued west to Colorado. I had never been to Colorado before in my life. I've never skied a day in my life, but I'd like to try if I had the time. I've water-skied a lot.

Wow! The west is beautiful. Those mountains are huge and there was a lot of snow. They make the mountains in the east look like hills. It's a different kind of mountain, all covered with snow. We flew to Colorado right from the Minnesota game, so we got in early in the morning. The next day we got up, had a meeting and played Colorado that night. We stayed over after the game, at a Marriott in Denver. Craiger and I headed back to the hotel after the game and ordered room service. I have a friend from home that is in Law school at the University of Denver, and he came over to the hotel and had room service with us. That was it for that night.

One thing about traveling, you can really tell some differences from one part of the country to another. Montreal is culturally a lot different than Pittsburgh or Denver. You can see differences in the people and the surroundings. I still feel most comfortable in the Northeast, because I grew up there.

Next we flew all day back east to Pittsburgh. This was our second trip there; we played there earlier on a long road trip. In Pittsburgh, at the Westin, we watched some more football and then Nick and I went out to dinner. By the way, Tarnasky is out of the hotel now too, in case you're wondering.

Did you see Marty in that shootout? I've never seen him practice that move. I think it definitely caught the goalie off guard. It was an unbelievable move.

After that it was back to Tampa. I honestly feel like I haven't been here much. We were gone for the entire week and it feels good to be back. Mostly, I've been relaxing and staying in one place. Just catching up.

I did see the BCS bowl, of course, and I was rooting for Ohio State. Hey, Florida came out and played a better game. They were unreal.

Lately I've been hearing about something called Gasparilla. I have no idea what that is. I guess it's some kind of city festival. I don't even know if we're in town or on the road then.

I feel like the team is really focused now. I wouldn't be surprised if we put a streak together. There is just a certain feeling.

Looking ahead, there are just a few cities coming up that we haven't been to and they are all way out west. Meanwhile, I haven't heard much talk about the Rookie Dinner, though I know they still go on. I'm looking forward to that. Sort of.

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Going to Buffalo is always fun for me because that’s where I started out. We landed in Buffalo on Friday and stayed at the Hyatt. I hooked up with some friends there and we went to dinner at a place called Chef’s, which is great. If anyone is in Buffalo, this place is worth going to. Italian food. We got the win in Buffalo the next night, which was great.

Sunday morning we practiced in Buffalo and then flew down to Long Island. We checked in the Garden City hotel and I watched football all day. That night Ryan Craig and myself went to an Italian restaurant close to the hotel.

The game on Long Island was a noon start, which is real different. Usually, you’re gearing up to play in the evening, but I’d rather have a game really early like that or like 7:30 or 8 pm. I think playing at noon is easier than playing at, say, 2pm or 3:30 or something like that, because with an early game you just get a really good night’s sleep and get up, have a little bit of breakfast/snack, and then head to the rink and play.

We were home for one game against Toronto, and right back out again. Hardly time to pack and unpack.

The trip to New Jersey was our first stop there all year. We actually stayed in New Jersey at a Sheraton, but it was right across the river from New York, so from our hotel you could see New York City. In New Jersey, we went out for a team dinner, the whole team went together. We ate at Ruth’s Chris, which is a good steakhouse. It was great for the whole team to go out together and have a meal.

My mom, dad and youngest sister were at the game the next night. We got a shootout win that night and then I went out to dinner afterwards with my family. We stayed in Jersey and practiced at their practice rink in the morning and then flew to Carolina.

The night we arrived I had dinner at Bonefish, which is really good food. The game the next night was an 8:30 pm start. Not my favorite start time, as I’ve said. The Carolina stop was strange in some ways. They had a basketball game in the arena before us, so we didn’t have a pre-game skate at all, like we always do. We went to the arena in the morning for a meeting and then the guys just kind of worked out a little at the rink. We watched some video and then went back to the hotel. We had a pre-game meal and then had to wait around for an extra hour and a half for the 8:30 start. The game that night was another shoot-out win. That made it seven wins in the last eight games – not a bad way to head into the All-Star break.

It’s interesting but guys always have different ways to warm-up before a game. It’s part warm-up and part getting the pre-game jitters out. We have a bunch of guys that like to play a sort of soccer game beneath the stands before a game. It’s their way to loosen up. They have a lot of fun with it. I think almost every team in the league has a bunch of guys that play soccer like that.

That brings us up to date, but since I’ve got some extra time during the All-Star break, I thought this would be a good time to answer some questions you’ve asked:

Alexa wanted to know why I’m an Ohio State fan. Well, my favorite college football team is Notre Dame but my second favorite has always been Ohio State. You know what? I’m not sure why. Ever since I was little I always liked them – maybe it was the colors? When I was in college we actually played Ohio State a few times and I got to go to Columbus and really liked it. We made a weekend trip there. The team would play on Friday and then on Saturday we went to the Horseshoe to see Ohio State play football and then we’d play again on Sunday.

She also asked if I like living in Tampa. Well, I really do like it. I think every time we arrive back here and get off the plane, it’s the middle of winter and there’s no car to shovel off. Nice and warm. We don’t have a ton of spare time. I think in the month of January we only played three home games, so I felt like I wasn’t even here. But when I do have spare time, I catch up on my rest and spend some time on the internet and catch up with talking to friends back home. In the past, I’ve always owned animals and that took up a good bit of my time, but I don’t have any pets here.

Katya asked about Paul Ranger and if he has a home? Well, he does. Tarnasky and I dropped him off once after we got back from a road trip.

Molly asked about when the rookie dinner is? I just don’t know. I have no idea. I’m sure it will happen at some point but I haven’t even thought too much about it. It’s not like a surprise. I’m sure someone will let us know ahead of time. It’s me, Holmqvist, Nick and Eric Perrin involved.

Amy wanted to know if the team spends time together when we’re not on the road? Really, it’s a different situation when we’re home. Several of the players have families and kids and I think that the guys with kids will all get together and the guys that live alone will tend to hang out together more. Just like with any group of people, I guess.

Sadie asked if I was surprised I had such a big fan base here in Tampa? Well, first of all, I’m not sure how big my fan base actually is, but I’m very surprised but very appreciative of the fans that have kind of taken me in and treated me so well.

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After dropping a tough game to New Jersey, we practiced and flew up to Philadelphia. We checked into the Four Seasons Hotel and relaxed for an hour or so. Later I hooked up with Tarnasky, Craig and Paul Ranger for dinner at a little Italian place called DeAngelos.

In the game the next night, we fell behind, 3-2, but tied it and sent it to overtime, which was scoreless. We won in the shootout, which is no real surprise the way Holmqvist has been playing in those things. His play gives us lots of confidence.

We practiced in Philly the next morning before flying down to Raleigh to face the Hurricanes. In Philadelphia, the two rinks are close to each other – right beside each other, actually. We changed into our practice gear at the new rink and then took a bus over to the Spectrum to skate. It was too cold to walk, even if we wanted to.

By the time we got settled in Carolina, Craig and I were a little bit tired, so we just ordered a snack from room service and rented a movie. We watched something called The Guardian with Kevin Costner. Wasn’t bad.

Later that evening Tarnasky, Nikita Alexeev and I went over to the Bonefish for dinner. There aren’t too many choices around there, and anyway, eating there worked for us last time we were in town so we decided to go back. You could call it a small superstition, I guess. Anyway, I guess I should eat at Bonefish every night, since we won 4-0 and I scored a goal. I had a grin on my face when I scored – well, anytime you score you’re going to be happy, but I was really kind of smiling toward Eric Perrin, because of the pass he made.

We flew home after the game – it was a pretty turbulent flight but flying doesn’t bother me at all. That’s all there was to this road trip, really. Just a quick in and out sort of trip, but we got two wins, so it was an excellent trip in all.

By the way, Perrin and I have completed Season 2 of Vegas. We’ve moved on to Seasons 1 and 2 of Entourage. Right now we’re kind of deciding to continue to Season 3 of Entourage or veer back to Season 3 of Vegas. It’s kind of up in the air; we have a few days before we head out on the road again to carefully consider what to do next. We talk it over and then Eric gets his way, unless there is something one of us feels strongly about. Our taste is pretty similar. We don’t fight about it too much

A short trip leaves time to answer some questions, so here we go:

Sadie asked if Andre Roy has pulled any pranks since he’s been back here. You know, Andre’s not as much a practical joker as he is a guy that is just funny and uses himself to get laughs. He’s just non-stop funny, pretty much.

Someone wanted to know if we see the signs on the glass during warm-up, and the answer is that we do. Everyone is always looking around during the warm-up and if your sign is right up against the glass, chances are we notice it.

Pattie asked if I saw any of the Gasparilla festival. Tarnasky and I did walk around the area a little bit, maybe an hour. Lots of people. It was nice to see.

Justin wanted to know how old I was when I started playing hockey and if I played other sports. Sure I played other sports – I was a really good second baseman in baseball. I started playing hockey when I was 7 years old. My dad played, so he started me at the rink.

Marta wanted to know if the Lightning have any competitions, like a “growing sideburns” competition. Well, we have nothing like that at all and I’m not about to start one.

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Times Square; Must Win in Jersey; Pete Peeters Makes an Appearance


Road Trip 15 (New York and New Jersey – 2/8-2/11)


I like going to New York City. It's an exciting place to visit, even though we don't get too much time to look around.

The team practiced on the 8th and then flew north. By the time we got to the Doubletree hotel it was after 6 p.m. The Doubletree is located right at Times Square, so when I met up with a friend from home who was in the City, we just found a restaurant nearby. I can't remember the name of the place we ate, and it was different, too. It was really good. It's a seafood place with a raw bar and stuff like that. I had salmon.

The next morning we skated and got ready to play the Rangers. That didn't go too well, we lost 5-0. We didn't get off to a great start and never could recover. We stayed at the Doubletree again that night and then on Saturday we bussed up to the Ranger practice facility in Tarrytown, New York. It took a little bit to get there; seemed like a long ride. We practiced, had a video session and then ate lunch there, too. It's a different kind of facility than we have in Brandon. Nice, but different. I think they might only have one rink there, but I could be wrong. We just kind of go in and out.

From there, the bus continued on to New Jersey and we checked into the Sheraton at about 4 p.m. I was a little tired so we relaxed around the hotel for awhile and then Ryan (Craig), Eric (Perrin) and I went to dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. I had chicken. I'm just not a big steak eater.

The game the next day was at 3:30 in the afternoon. Very different. A little awkward. It's in-between, as the routine goes. Not really early and not late. Right in the middle. I slept in that morning and ate around 10:30 or 11:00 a.m., went for a walk, made a few calls home and then went to the rink. We knew we had to come out a lot better than we had played against the Rangers on Friday and we did. Playing against Brodeur is always a challenge. He's one of the best. You just try to get as many shots on him as you can and hopefully you get lucky. After the game we headed straight for the airport and home.

My mom and dad are in town this week, so that's nice. It's been keeping me busy.

Guess I started something last time with the tattoos. Someone even asked about earrings and piercings. I'm not going to be coy about that one. No piercings. Nope. None. Never have, never will.

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Quick Trips but the Games Count; Getting to Know You; the Invisible Man


Road Trip 16 and 17 (Florida 2/17 and Atlanta 2/22)


Well, the road trips lately could hardly be called trips. It’s been one day out and the next day back, starting with Florida and then Atlanta. That kind of travel is pretty easy – not bad at all. Jump on the plane, eat lunch in the air and get in to the town that night. Then its dinner and we play the game the next day and head home. Not much to it.

Having said that, though, whenever you play a couple of games in a row, like we did this week at Atlanta and then home against Boston, you’re really not going to be quite as fresh that you would be if you had more rest. But, once you hit the ice the legs come back.

So, these were really two boring trips, I guess you could say. Hardly anything to tell about. I guess the big thing, beyond each game meaning so much to the team right now, is the long road trip that’s coming up. We’ll actually be gone 15 days and play six games. Out west we face Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. They’re all tough teams, especially in their own buildings.

Visiting those cities should be interesting. I’m not one to do research to learn about where to eat or anything. I just don’t worry about that until we get there. Packing is a challenge. I try to look at the itinerary and pack based on that. I guess I’ll check one bag and use one carry on, but I figure they’ll both be crowded. If I plan it right, I’ll fly home with a bunch of dirty laundry.

Perrin and I have to make a decision on what to watch. We’re still debating. Lots of flight time ahead.

There are some things about the road trips that I really enjoy. You get to know more about the guys on the road. For instance, at dinner we’ll talk about families and things like that. We hardly talk hockey. It’s a chance to learn about everyone’s background and learn things about your teammates that you didn’t know.

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The Long and Winding Road; Vancouver Crab Legs; The NHL’s Best Arena

Road Trip # 18 (Washington, Florida, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto – 3/1 – 3/14)

That was one long trip.

I hear it was about 8,000 miles. That’s no walk around the block, exactly. We began in Washington on March 1st, then down to Florida on the 2nd. I hit the Cheesecake Factory again and then went to a movie – Number 23 with Jim Carrey. It was a different sort of movie, especially for Carrey. I liked it.

After the Florida game we stopped back in Tampa for a day and then left for Vancouver. From Tampa to Vancouver is about as long a flight as you can take. It gave Perrin and me plenty of time to watch some episodes of Nip/Tuck. That series should about take us through the rest of the year – there are only three more trips and they’re all quick ones.

I’d never been to Vancouver before. It’s nice. Very pretty. We stayed right downtown on the water at the Westin Bayshore, so the view was water, mountains, stuff like that. One nice thing was that it wasn’t very cold. In fact, all thru this trip across Canada, we had some nice weather.

We had a team dinner in Vancouver and it was nice to get all the guys out together. I had chicken and pasta, which probably surprises some of you that think I only eat salmon. Well, salmon wasn’t on the menu.

After the game in Vancouver on the 6th, we took a short flight to Edmonton. We were going to play on the 7th, so the next day we just had a meeting at the hotel and headed to the rink. After the Edmonton game, we stayed over and flew out the next morning for Calgary.

The last time the team had been in Calgary was the Stanley Cup final. I think for some of the guys that were there returning brought back some good memories. I wasn’t there, of course, but I doubt you could go back there for the first time, after doing what those players did, and not think about it.

The last leg of the trip was Toronto. We got in there late on Sunday, the 11th. There was a time change flying east and also Daylight Savings Time began, so we lost another hour there. On the first night in Toronto I went to dinner with my girlfriend and her parents. They happened to be in town on business but headed out the next morning, so they didn’t even go to the game. After all the travel, it was good that the schedule gave us a little more than a day off, but the time went by quickly. Practice was at 2 pm, right in the middle of the day, so you don’t want to do too much before or even after. After all the days on the road, the Toronto leg was pretty low key.

Looking back, I’d have to say I enjoyed Vancouver better than anywhere else. My college roommate lives out there and he got to come to the game, so that was great. That’s a very nice city. The seafood out there was unbelievable. We had some crab legs and seafood appetizers. It was pretty fresh – especially the crab legs. They were probably the best crab legs I’ve ever had.

As far as hotels went, I’d say Toronto was the nicest. We stayed at the Westin Harbour Castle, which is right on the lake. Toronto doesn’t have the scenery that Vancouver does, but the rooms were nice and big.

All in all, I’d have to say it’s good to be home. Someone asked about which arena in the NHL I’ve enjoyed the most. They do all seem somewhat different. I think I notice the locker rooms and the crowds more than anything, and I’d have to say that Forum here where we play is one of the nicest ones in the league.

**Final Entry of the Regular Season**
 
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