Posted: Tuesday January 23, 2007 12:15PM; Updated: Tuesday January 23, 2007 12:15PM
Derian Hatcher of the Philadelphia Flyers catches a few winks.
Michael J. LeBrecht II/1Deuce3 Photography
How do you get to sleep quickly in broad daylight? It helps, says Trail Blazers forward Raef LaFrentz, to have a routine. "I eat a quick second breakfast or lunch, watch a little TV, read the newspaper and lie down for an hour and a half at 1:30." Minnesota Wild defenseman Brent Burns buys DVDs of Beverly Hills 90210 to put himself to sleep. L.A. Kings forward Mike Cammalleri surfs the channels for golf. "I just fall asleep. I watch it, watch it, watch it and, then, in my mind, I'm putting somewhere." Bobcats forward Sean May's nap companion is a blankie decorated with choo-choo trains that he's been sleeping with since he got it from his mother, Debbie, as a child. May is also precise in schedule. "You're trying to be out between one and three," he says. "If you sleep too much or too late, you'll act tired during the game. On the mornings of game days I'll make myself get up at eight or nine, force myself up so that I'm ready for a nap when it's time."
The greatest obstacle to napping, of course, is noise. A snoring roommate is the most common source. Hatcher has some less-than-fond memories of former Stars teammate Shawn Chambers, who "never stopped snoring," except, presumably, when he was awake. "I threw pillows at him," says Hatcher. "Or I'd yell at him while hitting him with a pillow."... Another of the NHL's star snorers is Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard. "Boogey's awful," says his roommate, Burns. "You have to get to bed before he does because once he tries to go to sleep, he's asleep in two minutes and snoring in three. It's like lying next to a train station." Sighs Boogaard, who has been in six of Minnesota's seven fights this season, "That's what four or five broken noses will do."... Defenseman Kurtis Foster understands. "You don't want a roommate who snores," says Foster, "and I'm that person. I've woken up to pillows over the head, to a remote control being thrown at me. I've woken up to guys opening the drawer and closing it as hard as they can, almost like a shotgun sound."
But even worse than snoring is the phone calls some players get in their hotel rooms from fans of opposing teams determined to wreak havoc on their naps. "When I played for the Rangers," says Kings goalie Dan Cloutier, "we had a six-on-six brawl against the Islanders [in 1998]. Every time we went to Long Island after that, during the pregame sleep [at the hotel] I'd get death threats on the phone."... Sabres goalie Martin Biron says French-Canadian players visiting in Montreal are particularly vulnerable to unwanted wake-up calls -- "Everybody knows you're there and knows your name."... Minnesota forward Mark Parrish recalls an afternoon nap when "my phone rang andI woke up like it was a fire alarm. I didn't know what was going on. It was a fan wanting to screw up our routine. The worst is when you wake up and you think you're late. You shoot out of bed, your heart's racing, you start throwing your shoes on, thinking you're late for the bus. And you look at the clock and it's only 2:45. It takes awhile to settle back down." ... For all the challenges to successful napping, however, Biron says that once you get the knack, it's a tough habit to break. "You learn how to nap and learn how to do it good. Then when the season ends, you'll have a two-week period where, from 1:30 until four every afternoon, you'll hit a wall because your body is so used to taking a nap."