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Oct. 28, 2008
Welcome to Big D. The team charter departed at 11:50 a.m. (slight delay as the pilots waited for paperwork) and we landed right at 2:00 p.m. to an overcast but warmer day here in Dallas. The American Airlines Center is empty as players walk to the ice for our practice this afternoon. Erik Reitz did not make the trip due to illness but everyone else is with us, including Marian Gaborik. The players will have their annual NHLPA meeting tonight at 6:00 p.m. at the hotel’s restaurant. Sounds good. It’s been awhile since I have been on the road as Stanzel handled the last two-preseason games and our first road trip of the regular season. In fact, the last time I spent a night in a hotel room was in Grand Forks for training camp, so hopefully this passes inspection today and tomorrow.
We have security lined up to screen us at the rink tomorrow night postgame in an effort to help speed our ability to get up in the air and get home as quickly as possible with back-to-back games on the horizon. The person that is going to oversee the screening was on our flight today. As soon as he got on the plane a few people were wondering who he was. I am also looking into the possibility of changing our travel schedule at the end of our next road trip so the team can fly home after the game in Vancouver Saturday night instead of the following morning like we normally do. The trip is long enough the way it is and we don’t play again until Thursday so guys would like to get home and enjoy most of Sunday off.
A total of 16 players skated at practice as Jacques Lemaire gave a number of players the option to not practice. Here is an injury update following last night’s game as well. Marian Gaborik did not skate with the team today.
Brent Burns - lower body, resting today, possible for tomorrow.
Antti Miettinen - upper body, resting today, probable for tomorrow.
Erik Reitz - did not make trip to Dallas due to the flu. Should be fine for Thursday
The sun was shining as we walked on the bus to head back to the hotel at 4:20. Not much else to report. Time to delete, I mean check my email and fire up my laptop to see what I have missed today. Catch up in the morning.
Aaron 1:45 p.m.
Greetings State of Hockey and beyond.
Today was an unfamiliar day, as the Wild took off for a road trip without me. Not that 36 hours in Texas is much of a “trip,” but it lets me get caught up on some things around the office and at home, with a 10-day trip beginning Friday on the horizon. It also allows me time to answer e-mails from Wild fans, so feel free to send some to email@example.com
Aaron Sickman will likely check in after today’s practice, which is at 3 p.m. at American Airlines Center in Dallas. I can tell you that Brent Burns was on the team plane to Dallas, although he’s likely to rest his lower body injury at practice today. One other note, and that is that Erik Reitz did not make the trip due to illness, but he's expected to be ok for Thursday. Antti Miettinen also rested an upper body injury, but like Burns he is probable tomorrow.
A variety of subjects I’d like to cover this afternoon. And I’ll likely be all over the map, blogging while getting some things done, so pardon me for a bit of stream of consciousness writing.
First and foremost, out of our 9:30 a.m. department meeting this morning. Xcel Energy Center PR guru Jora Deziel gave us an update on my second favorite Twin Cities sport, Minnesota Rollergirls (http://www.mnrollergirls.com/
). If you haven’t been to a Rollergirls bout at Roy Wilkins, you’re really missing the boat.
This is an exciting time of the year for Rollergirls, as it’s the national competition. Jora informed us that the Minnesota All-Stars whipped the Arkansas Killbillies (I’m not kidding) 90-4. The All-Stars feature my favorite RG’s, Pain Gretzky and Demora Liza.
Back at the ranch…
Between periods, I’m watching the Phillies and Rays play a World Series game last night in torrential downpour, thinking “they may not get this game in.” And I begin to think as a PR/travel type, not as a baseball fan…My mind starts wondering “I bet the Rays have checked out of their hotel, expecting to fly home tonight either for Game 6 or to begin the winter.” Sure enough, they had left their hotel, which was booked full for Monday night. And as you know, the game was suspended in the sixth inning, so the Rays had to do some scrambling for a hotel, finding one 25 miles from Philadelphia in Wilmington, Delaware.
We could have had a similar situation in the playoffs in Colorado, between Games 4 and 5. We were scheduled to fly back to Minnesota after Game 4 to begin preparations for Game 5. As you remember, the first three games of that series went to overtime. We got to thinking, if we play deep into the night, it would be nice to be able to stay over and fly in the morning, instead of through the night and arriving home at daybreak. So we had some rooms on hold and a potential catering contract, but then we didn’t need to worry about it since Game 4 was decided in regulation.
In the NBA playoffs last season, the Lakers team plane had mechanical issues and couldn’t take off from New Orleans after their Game 7 victory. They spent the night sleeping in the plane on the runway before flying home on their off-day before the next series began. There was a big convention in New Orleans and there were no hotel rooms left. I know we fly in pretty cushy quarters. But I’m here to tell you I wouldn’t want to spend a night on a charter plane, particularly after a grueling seven-game series.
I just called Elias Sports Bureau, which informs us the last team to go the first seven games of the season without allowing a power play goal was Toronto in 1962-63. A feat, of course, matched by the Wild this season. Randy is calling me back within minutes to let me know of the last team to go eight straight and nine straight to open a season. In our business it’s a lot of “just in case” work, and sometimes I feel like a jinx. However, I like to inform the media of things as it’s happening, and not after.
That was fast. Randy called me back to let me know that the last teams to go eight games to begin a season without yielding a power play goals were Detroit (eight games) and Montreal (10 games) in the 1955-56 season. Once before I die I want to visit the Elias Sports Bureau. They know everything.
Where to, now? Robert our intern is about to send game notes over to Dallas, while I’m working on a couple of press releases for later in the week. I’ll also get a head start on Thursday’s game notes against Montreal, which will undoubtedly lead with some Koivu vs. Koivu notes. I’ve also been in contact with David Amber of ESPN, who wants to talk to Niklas Backstrom
while we are in San Jose on Monday. Probably tomorrow, I’ll outline the trip for you and all that it entails for a travel guy.
I’ve also got to get organized because I’m switching cubicles tomorrow. It’s only a 10 foot move, but after just 14 months with the Wild, I’m getting a cube with part of a window, as well as a wall. I’m further from the kitchen, but closer to Deb Hanson’s snacks (currently candy corn). And I can now throw things on Aaron Sickman’s desk over the cubicle divider without him seeing me.
I'll be back with an update from Mr. Sickman in a bit.