For most kids Friday was a day off school because of all the snow. For the kids who wear skates and play at ScotiaBank Place it was a travel day. For those of you who had to drive home from work you know how bad it was. The hockey team however does not have the option of not going to Toronto for Saturday night’s game against the Leafs. So for the players, coaches and media it was a slow white knuckle drive to the airport, then a flight to Toronto and then a hellish drive through GTA traffic to the hotel. We couldn’t see anything out of the windows of our Air Canada jet either taking off or landing, but the outstanding crew and captain Murray Garrison got us here safely.
Some would ask “why bother”. Wait until Saturday and fly-in the morning of the game. The problem is that the NHL has rules about this stuff. To make sure that teams make every effort to get to cities, there are substantial fines for the franchise if they can’t prove that they made every effort and exhausted every travel option to get there on time for the game. If you miss a game and the league deems that you didn’t do everything possible to get there the fine can be as much as a million dollars. The other thing that many people do not know is the NHL requires a team to be in the city they are playing in 24 hours before game time, unless the team is playing the night before in another city. We got here safe and sound and now the only thing left to do is play.
The Senators have a tough task with Heatley and Alfredsson still out of the lineup, but they can't complain too much. The Leafs have 8 regulars out of their lineup because of injury or suspension. It will be a very different experience hearing Daniel Alfredsson boo'd only once at the ACC. That will come when he is announced as a scratch.
See you at the rink.