What a difference one side of the plane makes. To our left, staff is marveling at Target Field just minutes after takeoff. To the right, we can see the rising Mississippi, which has overwhelmed its banks in some areas.
A few hours ago, we wondered if we would even be at this point. A "perfect storm" in Denver so to speak caused a delay that wound up being about 90 minutes.
The plane that was supposed to pick us up brought the Kings into Denver last night. It got hit by lightning, which blew a hole in one of the tires. There wasn't enough time to get a new tire, in time to come to MSP to pick us up.
Our charter company thankfully had another one of its planes in Denver, so the crew hustled to the airport this morning. However, that plane was sitting all night in a heavy Denver snow and ice storm. Keep in mind it was in the 60's during the day yesterday in Denver.
It took over an hour for our plane to get fully de-iced, partly because a DC-9 carrying the DU Pioneers to its NCAA Regional was there as well.
Knowing about the lengthy delay, Aaron Sickman and I split up the team (I took forwards and he took defensemen and goalies) and texted everyone to let them know not to get to the airport until after 2:30. A few guys were already there.
So our plane landed in the Twin Cities at 2:32 pm, more than a half hour after we were expected to take off for Philadelphia. We can't be on board the plane while it's refueling, and the caterers are loading food, so we were all on the plane by about 3:15. We had another brief delay to reboot the navigational system, but we're on our way now.
Shane Hnidy is not on the trip with us, but everyone else is. Chuck Fletcher and Jim Mill are meeting us in Philly tomorrow.
Thankfully, this plane and crew is scheduled to stay with us the rest of the trip. We'll play Thursday in Philly, screen at the arena and fly to Detroit. Then home after Friday's game at Joe Louis Arena.
Lasagna or seafood pasta on the plane today. Eating light so I can hit up my favorite downtown Philly restaurant later tonight.
Philly creates its own travel issues because the arena is a solid 15-minute drive (more in traffic) from the hotel. So whereas we usually do two buses after the pre-game skate, we'll probably try to get most players on that first bus, and call a cab for any that are left over. It's also an earlier bus for the game (4:30 instead of 4:45) because traffic can be bad heading out there. So I'll make sure everyone knows that, especially the rookies.
Talk to everyone Thursday from Wachovia Center - one of three current NHL arenas that Owen Nolan has not scored in.
Oh one more thing - best line of the day from (who else) Cal Clutterbuck
. Tom Reid wearing a rather bright shirt. Me, kind of a subdued "salmon" pastel. Clutter: "You guys go two-for-one shopping?"