One of the misconceptions of flying on the team plane is the assumption that those five-hour West Coast flights would go by faster. Yet there I was, struggling to entertain my ADD self with books, episodes of Seinfeld and movies that I had seen one too many times.
Out players have the drill down pat, having downloaded episodes of their favorite TV shows for this specific reason. You know that scene in 24/7 where Alex Ovechkin packs his XBOX 360 for the team trip? We’ve got that happening too! I can’t say I caught the full context, but Jimmy Howard was happy about beating a teammate 6-1 in some game as we made our way to California.
There are two muses that I rely on while on the road, not only as helpful faces, but also as bearers of wisdom on protocol and superstition. One is our equipment manager Paul Boyer, who has been with the club since 1994, while the other is play-by-play voice Ken Kal, who went over notes with his radio partner Paul Woods, and was busy piecing together elements for his next broadcast.
On this night, with a pair of seventh games taking place in Boston and Pittsburgh, there is a scramble for scores. Upon refueling in Nebraska, Ken Daniels breaks out his cell phone, which conveniently enough, is connected to his home TV via Slingbox to watch, even if it was just for a few minutes. We received word that the Bruins had beaten the Canadiens in overtime with about an hour remaining in the flight and the Lightning-Penguins/Tigers-Mariners scores upon landing in California.
The team arrived in San Jose around midnight EDT, or 9:00 P.M. local time. The ride from the airport to the hotel was short and sweet, with the obligatory ‘we’re here’ texts to family back home. One of the perks of team travel is that, like many tours, the check-in process is already completed upon arrival, with each player and staff member receiving an envelope with a room key ready to go.
So now the focus shifts to hockey. Thursday is a practice day at HP Pavillion, while Friday is the usual road game routine. There’s been a lot of chatter about how great the Vancouver-Chicago series was, not just because the quality of play was so high, but also because casual sports fans are starting to get excited about hockey.
Now it’s our turn to put on a show.
- Winging it in Motown with some birthday love for Nick Lidstrom.
- Pavel Datsyuk was the subject of an excellent Sports Illustrated story this week. Totally worth checking out if you have a few minutes.
- The Nightmare on Helm Street busts out the locker room motivation for Round Two.
- Catch all of the playoff action at our Official Red Wings Viewing Parties, including the popular Motor City Casino party for a potential Game 5.
Game Date Time Venue
Game 1 Friday, April 29 10 P.M. HP Pavilion
Game 2 Sunday, May 1 3 P.M. HP Pavilion
Game 3 Wednesday, May 4 8 P.M. Joe Louis Arena
Game 4 Friday, May 6 7 P.M. Joe Louis Arena
Game 5* Sunday, May 8 8 P.M. HP Pavilion
Game 6* Tuesday, May 10 TBD Joe Louis Arena
Game 7* Thursday, May 12 TBD HP Pavilion
Tickets for Game 3 (Home Game 1), Game 4 (Home Game 2) and Game 6 (Home Game 3) can be purchased at www.detroitredwings.com.