Bus legs. Plane legs, train legs, boat legs. It really doesn’t matter what form of transportation a hockey team uses, if you’re crossing a bunch of time zones, travelling through the night, or travelling immediately following a game, you’re going to end up with heavy legs.
The only real cure is prevention (like a hangover), but with some stupid-long trips, there’s just no way to avoid feeling like the blood in your legs has the density of dark matter.
Andrew Gordon, now of the Anaheim Ducks, is doing a pretty cool thing – he’s blogging about his team’s European adventures for NHL.com. Yesterday he posted on the team’s travel to Helsinki, and when they should have been sleeping so they could feel as functional as humanly possible during their days of hockey and fun while across the pond.
My guess is, heavy legs aren’t something he’s going to be able to avoid. Probably doesn’t help that he wasn’t able to follow Jonas Hiller’s sleep advice either.
Much like the unavoided hangover, everybody thinks they have a cure, or at least some tricks to make things a little better – the legs issue is no different.
The greasy food and Gatorade of curing heavy legs isn’t quite as fun as a Sunday on the couch. No, unfortunately the answer lies in the thing you want to do least: exercise.
You can’t exactly bike and cold-tub when you arrive at the visiting airport, so it always takes some time.
Mixing in that post-skate bike ride flushes them out even further, and combined with a little cold tub and a good stretch, and you might just find yourself feeling decent the next day (you still probably won’t for a couple days if you had to travel to, say, Finland).
The same way that over-sleeping can make you tired, resting is not the answer to feeling better in the short term.
And hey, the short term is what matters for the young guys right now. A dude like Andrew Gordon currently finds himself trying to crack a big league roster and impress the front office under the heavy-legged conditions we’ve talked about. It’s a bad break, but you have to roll with the punches sometimes.
Keeping your legs feeling light and strong is a top priority for all players near the bubble. For those trying to be at their best after so many hours on the plane, it probably won’t feel like they’re flying.