PRAGUE -- The flight was about as uneventful as it gets. The players sat in the first-class seats of the giant 767 we flew to Prague while the Rangers coaches, executive staff, doctors, trainers, equipment managers and NHL personnel such as myself lounged in coach, each with our own row.
Dinner was served shortly after we took off from Philadelphia and then it was lights out until the captain said we were close to Prague and the breakfast service began.
We landed here at 1 p.m. local time, which for us was 7 a.m. The crew on the tarmac seemed genuinely thrilled to see the Rangers. One of them even had a jersey that he was getting signed. They were all using their camera phones.
The bus ride from the airport to the hotel was long and eventful as the drivers of our giant buses tried to navigate through the narrow, hilly roads that were further constricted by construction.
Once we got to the hotel there was a sizable contingent of autograph seekers waiting for the Rangers. They all had their binders with hockey cards and they were eager. The Rangers obliged on their way into the hotel.
After taking about 45 minutes to shower and refresh, the players met to head over to Tesla Arena.
Rangers coach John Tortorella wants to put his team through a practice so they can get a sweat and get the jet lag out of their systems.
He's only 17 but he can see the ice so well and he moves the puck and goes to the open ice all the time, so I just think he's a player that is ready to play in the NHL. I'm really looking forward to coaching someone like this.
— U.S. National Junior Team coach Ron Wilson on Auston Matthews, the projected No. 1 pick of the 2016 NHL Draft