Timing is everything on the ice.
It's pretty important off it, too.
The clock couldn't have been more cruel to Calgary Flames defenceman Anders Eriksson during the club's recent road trip, when he got word of a new addition to his family while the team was getting set to play the Columbus Blue Jackets in Ohio.
One of the last things on his mind after getting back into the Flames lineup in Chicago the previous game, he was stunned to receive the all-important call.
It came two months early.
"Thank God, right now everyone's OK," said Eriksson, who reported baby Brooke and mom Beth are both in good health despite the premature birth.
"At the same time, when it happened, when you get that phone call -- 'I called the ambulance. I'm going to the hospital. We're having a kid' -- and you're sitting in Columbus, Ohio, you feel kind of helpless.
"That was the worst feeling ever. But she's a very independent woman, very calm under the circumstances, and we had a little girl."
Catching a late flight out on St. Patrick's Day, Eriksson travelled all night to make it back to Calgary. Brooke had already been born by the time dad was airborne, though.
"But I didn't know it at the time because my phone was off," said Eriksson, still wearing his hospital bracelet and about to head back after the morning skate yesterday to finally hold his tiny girl for the first time.
"We were already sort of taking off."
It was the second daughter for the big Swede, who helped welcome his first, Abby, into the world 21 months ago.
Calling Brooke a miniature version of Abby at 3.9 lb., Eriksson laughed yesterday at his wife's excitement over his insertion into the lineup during the road trip.
"It's kind of funny, my wife was saying, 'Ah, well, I don't know really if you (should) come home, you're back in the lineup,' " recalled Eriksson of Monday's call.
"I'm going, 'I think this is a little more important than hockey.'
"She's a very dedicated wife, I'll give her that."
Eriksson was back in the Flames lineup last night, when the squad played host to the Colorado Avalanche at the 'Dome.
The blueliner played more than 21 minutes in a crucial 2-1 Flames victory over their divisional rivals.