The smooth, unmarked, clean-shaven face gave Mark Stuart away on Thursday. It has been a useful summer of recuperation and re-energizing, the rigours and abrasions of opposition glove leather and stick tape and the marks left by flying NHL pucks long-healed. Most of that recovery and training time for the Winnipeg Jets' warrior defenceman has been spent in Winnipeg. And by choice, believed to be a first among the team's non-Winnipeggers since the franchise relocated here from Atlanta in mid-2011. Like many city-dwellers, Stuart has had his getaways, including a post-season family trip for eight days to Italy, the eight-hour haul out to his parents' cabin in Wisconsin and a week in June and two in July to his hometown in Rochester, Minn. Some of that time was motivated by a new sports-medicine and workout facility but the 30-year-old native Minnesotan pointed out he's really got the best of both worlds now. "It's a big part of the summer for most NHL players, the training, and I wanted to make sure I had a good setup there," he said. "The Iceplex has been perfect for that. "I thought at first I might get sick of going there because we spend some time there during the season and (was worried) it might feel too much like going to the office but it hasn't felt like that at all. They've done some remodelling, the gym's a little bigger, and it's been good." Like the majority of Winnipeggers, not all of summer's time is spent working. "Lots of getting away on weekends, trying to do stuff around here," Stuart said. "Went to Gimli during the Icelandic Festival. Made it to Grand Beach for a day. That was nice, Never been there before. These are places I've heard about in the past few years but never had a chance to go to.
Home is where the Mark is
Winnipeg Free Press | Aug 15