January 4, 2008
No easy way to the Bay
By STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media
SAN JOSE -- Do you know the way to San Jose?
It usually involves a detour through San Francisco or Oakland. For NHL teams, it always means late nights.
Because of a curfew, team charters can't land in the city past 11 p.m. -- keeping the noise of low-flying airplanes aiming for the nearby airport from keeping folks in the downtown core awake.
That means less sleep for well-travelled players, who are expected to perform regardless of their level of rest.
The Calgary Flames arrived at their hotel a little after 2 a.m. yesterday, following a game against the New York Rangers Wednesday night.
Advantage, San Jose. Right?
"You would think," said former Sharks player Wayne Primeau, a member of the Flames. "But they do it more than any of us. There was times we would fly in from a trip -- get in at 2, 2:30 (a.m.) -- and play the next night, as well. They have to deal with it all year.
"That was probably one of the worst things about playing here."
Everything else about living and playing in Northern California was great, says Primeau. But imagine going on a lengthy jaunt away from home and returning to a detour that adds at least another hour to your trek.
Sounds easy to a travel-weary journalist who deals with commercial delays and cramped conditions. But scribes don't have to suit up for games.
"There weren't too many times where you got in before 2 or 2:30 (a.m.)," Primeau said.