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04-21-2013, 10:08 PM
  #465
Robb_K
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Quote:
Originally Posted by illninofan View Post
Not sure I buy that to be honest.

This phenomenon has been explained in other sports too (football with the Denver Broncos, for example) and apparently the results are mixed. Players have reported to gotten used to it after a short period of time into the game, and then after a while you don't even notice it. The Blues got into Colorado yesterday, so I'd imagine that they had broke past that threshold with a practice/skate.

Some believe it's all in your head, and others believe that there is a legitimate advantage.

I'm likely to lean toward the former.
I don't believe road players adjust to the thin air during the first day, In my 20s, I played hockey at 5,000 to 8,000 ft. altitude, both on the first day of arrival and on the 2nd day. Invariably, I was perfectly adjusted on the 2nd day, but not at my normal best on the first day. (If I arrived the night before, the next day acted like the FIRST day). That was pretty much what my teammates told me as well. In other words, athletes need at least 24 to 36 hours in that thin air for their (athletics-level) breathing to adjust. If The NHL would have 2-3 game road series, the road team would be fine for the 2nd and 3rd game. But, they are at a distinct disadvantage in the first game, if they haven't been at that altitude for enough time.

I'm sure this would be borne out as well, by NBA teams playing in Denver. Don't NFL teams fly early to Denver to practise in that air for a few days before their games? They certainly used to, at least during the playoffs.

At the pro (and, especially The NHL level), even that small difference can mean A LOT (in terms of reaching the puck first, being able to get back on defence, etc.). It certainly makes a difference in the outcome of games. The Avs' numbers show that very clearly. When watching them play on the road, they look so loose on defence, you'd expect them to have a much worse overall record (but it is bouyed by their home advantage).

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