© St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
December 9, 2001
His teammates might tell you that Tyson Nash, raised near Edmonton, Alberta, and reared in the shadow of the Edmonton Oilers, begged for Doug Weight to be his road roommate.
Not so, Nash said.
He got the call from the Blues' team services rep over the summer and had his roomie options explained to him. The former Oilers captain was one of his choices to replace last season's roommate, Marty Reasoner. Others included goalie Fred Brathwaite, newcomer Mike Keane, defenseman Sean Hill or thumper Reed Low.
Brathwaite's a goalie and has a room of his own.
Hill and Keane, two veterans and past teammates, chose each other.
Nash had been Low's roommate before and wasn't going down that sleepless road again.
That left Weight.
Weight had wondered upon signing with the Blues how he could possibly get along with Nash. The Blues' pest had been especially agitating to Weight. The vet called Nash a pain on the ice. In the hotel room, well, he isn't so bad.
"We didn't quite see eye-to-eye when he was in Edmonton," Nash said. "This is a big difference. We spent that much time together (in Alaska), and he's a great guy. Been helping me out with my game. I tend to like to sleep. He gets up with the birds . . . he's quiet."
Melding habits between road roommates is an essential part of piecing together a happy traveling team. Can't have an all-night television-watcher with a winger that needs quiet straight out stacks in the Library of Congress. A room with a night owl and an early bird won't fly.
And Low . . .
Well, Low's got a heck of a scam going to get his own room.
"There's no scientific reason to it at all," said coach Joel Quenneville, who pairs some players and lets other road roommates come together by happenstance. "As long as you're comfortable, relaxed around each other. . . . We talk about it (as a coaching staff). I don't like them changing around too much."
There are few rules when it comes to matching up road roomies. Goaltenders have the choice of rooming on their own. Most do because, as Keane said, "they're whackos." Otherwise, there's no grand plan of sticking rookies with vets, defensemen with defensemen, family men with swinging singles.
Quenneville tries to keep the players from the former Soviet Bloc together and back when there were Slovakians to pair up, he did. Ukrainian Sergei Varlamov and Alex Khavanov are a natural Cyrillic fit. The "Red Army," Daniel Corso joked.
"You've got to have similar programs," captain Chris Pronger said.
Al MacInnis has had three roommates in his career. He finds it best to have a friend. As roommates, schedules often dovetail on the road. You eat with the roomie. You hang out with the roomie. You want that afternoon nap to come at about the same time. It's easier if you're pals to boot.
Dallas Drake and Keith Tkachuk have been roommates since their days together in Winnipeg. They roomed together when the franchise moved to Phoenix, and reunited last season when Tkachuk was traded to the Blues.
They work "because we have similar personalities."
Weight and Nash seem to duck the day-planner rule. The Blues' new center thinks these younger guys sleep too much and the fathers sleep less because they never lose their kids' schedules. Weight gets up, and Nash said he needs 15 minutes after that. "Well, OK, a bit more than that," Nash admits. Weight doesn't quibble with Nash's napping -- the youngster can snooze with the TV on.
Weight's got to have the TV on to sleep. It works.
"Biggest thing for me," Corso said, "is that they don't snore."
On the Blues, nobody snores quite like Low.
The second-year winger who is the Blues' scrapper can't keep a roommate. Nash did hazardous duty in the minors. Others have tried, but Low's nasal tuba drives his road roomies batty. Worse, he's one of those young guys who like to sleep.
"I'm a sound sleeper to boot," Low said. "Throw stuff at me. Punch me. There's nothing you can do. I'll roll over and go back to sleep. . . . I have woken myself up. Wake up, look around the room for who's snoring, realize it's me. Hell, that's unbelievable."
A sleeper . . . armed with a nuclear snore . . . that's road-trip terror.
"It's so important," said Keane, who just had his roommate, Hill, traded last week. "You have to be compatible. You can't have a sleeper and someone who's going to be out late at night. It sounds trivial, but it's something you have to have.