Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 1/23/13
ST. PAUL, Minn. Zach Parise might want to invest in a good travel pillow after signing his big contract with the Minnesota Wild. Parise, who grew up in the Twin Cities, was well aware of what he was in for when he agreed to a 13-year contract last summer. He didn't need much of a tour of his new surroundings and was well aware of the brutal winters. There is one big adjustment for Parise, though, after spending the first seven years of his career with the New Jersey Devils: jetlag. Minnesota will travel the most miles of any NHL team this season, a circumstance of playing in the Western Conference during a season in which the NHL lockout has reduced the schedule to conference-only matchups. Parise, used to playing in the Eastern Conference with New Jersey, is accustomed to much shorter trips given the concentration of teams in the East. "It'll be an adjustment for me,'" Parise said. "The travel I'm accustomed to is always pretty easy. It'll be a few more plane rides, a few more time zone changes, but I'm sure I'll get used to it." The Wild head out on their first road trip of the season this week with games Friday at Detroit and Sunday in St. Louis before returning home. It's one of the shorter trips for Minnesota this season, which will travel an NHL-high 31, 273 miles, according to the Wall Street Journal. In contrast, the Devils have the second-shortest road schedule this season, 11,637 miles. Many times, New Jersey travels by bus or train. Parise will have to take to the sky now. "For Zach, it might be a little different," joked fellow newcomer Ryan Suter, who has played his entire career in the Western Conference with the Nashville Predators. "He can't drive to three games." With the lockout over, the NHL set up a condensed schedule 48 games in 99 days with teams slated to play games only within their conference, as opposed to the usually mixed schedule. With Minnesota on the Eastern edge of the Western Conference, its trips are long even by Western Conference standards. "To be honest, I looked at it and I said, 'I thought this was going to be a lot worse,' " Parise said. "I looked at the schedule, and it didn't look too bad. I'm sure the plane rides are going to be a little bit of an adjustment for me. I personally didn't think it was terrible." Parise's new linemate, Dany Heatley, had a suggestion for handling the Wild's intensive travel schedule. "Sleeping on the plane," Heatley quipped. "We talk a lot about it whether we are at home or on the road. 'Guys, you really got to take care of yourself. There's no time to do anything off the ice. You got to work out. You got to get your sleep, and it doesn't change on the road.' " Minnesota's closest division rival is Colorado, a 2.5-hour plane ride that includes a time zone change. The Wild also travel within their division to Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. On average, teams in the Western Conference will travel an estimated 26,093 miles this season; their Eastern counterparts will travel an average of 17,035 miles. A planned realignment might have solved some of the issues. The NHL had agreed to a restructuring that would have had Minnesota playing within a division against Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Nashville, St. Louis and Winnipeg. But those plans were tabled during the lockout and will need to be revisited in the future. For now, the Wild might just rack up more hotel points. Coach Mike Yeo said it's possible Minnesota will stay overnight in some cities instead of traveling and might have to cancel practices to accommodate the schedule. "Certainly practice-wise, we're going to have to accept that some areas of our game might not be as sharp," Yeo said. "Whether it's a detail or a certain aspect of your game, you might have to ease up a little bit on practice time, might have to give more days off. The other thing for us is with the travel that we have and where we are geographically we might have to look at some adjustments to our travel as far as staying over in cities a little bit more. I would think that we're facing a few more days on the road than we have in the past." Yeo said after Tuesday's 3-1 home loss to Nashville there are times his team feels more comfortable playing on the road. The coach is also looking forward to getting in a couple of days of practice before Friday's game against the Red Wings. Like the rest of the NHL, the Wild had a six-day training camp before its opener and haven't had a full practice session since the season began. After two weeks of hype surrounding Parise and Suter in Minnesota, this week's road trip is viewed by some as a nice change of pace. But fatigue will eventually set in, and the Wild will need to adapt. "You make sure you're getting your sleep, sleeping right and eating properly and getting your rest," Parise said. "Those are the three things you can control. After that, it should all hopefully fall into place. I think it'll be a little bit of an adjustment." Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Manfred blames MLBPA for no significant rule changes in 2017

Report: Zach Britton has potential oblique injury

The Rock returns to WWE, leaves CM Punk a voicemail after 'Raw'

After outfield collision, Ichiro pranks teammate and claims he’s been cut

Simeon Rice gets vulgar with radio host over HOF debate

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Ronda Rousey to be guest star on NBC’s ‘Blindspot’

Lakers replace Jim Buss with Magic Johnson, fire Kupchak

Report: James Harrison, Steelers share mutual interest in 2017 return

Jimmy Garoppolo’s mom keeping him up to speed on his trade rumors

Report: Clippers intent on keeping both Blake Griffin, Chris Paul

Slam dunks and startups: How all-star technology took over the NBA in The Big Easy

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

Box Score 2/21: It's trade heartbreak season

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Movies you can stream now to get your football fix

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win 100 games with two different teams

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams, players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker