Originally written on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 12/8/12

NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 22: Paul Mara #22 of the Montreal Canadiens hits Dean McAmmond #11 of the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on January 22, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Forgive Paul Mara if he had to pinch himself as a reminder that he was in his morning commute. It was one of those windows-down, volume-up Southern California mornings, a postcard-esque drive from the Temecula Valley through the rolling foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains and past Santiago Peak towards the eastern stretches of Los Angeles exurbia and into the parking lot of Citizens Business Bank Arena, where a 75-degree December day greeted the 33-year-old defenseman as he stepped out of his car. He describes it as a pretty straight shot north, and thats at its most accurate if pretty is underlined. If he were any closer to the coastline, The Beach Boys would have written a song about this. Make no mistake Mara is not on vacation. On the contrary, hes building back his conditioning and game shape into mid-season form as a member of the Ontario Reign, the first professional team hes played for since saying what he hopes to be a temporary good-bye to the NHL after the 2010-11 se...
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