Airlines not giving Flames preferential treatment

ERIC FRANCIS, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 5:22 PM ET

While most hockey moms would likely deem it animal cruelty, several police dogs spent the morning at the Dome sniffing through the Calgary Flames’ equipment Monday.

Hours earlier, the players were briefed by team officials on the strict new travel rules in effect since Dec. 26 prohibiting most carry-on items.

And while some worried the short list of entertainment options might actually force players to practice the age-old art of conversation while en route, David Moss insisted such archaic communication is not on his to-do list.

“No, no, no, not me,” started the winger, chuckling over the mere thought of having to sit idly amongst his closest pals.

“We’re playing cards. We have a table and four guys —we’re the least affected by the news, so that’s good.”

While others worried about life without a DVD player or other toys to keep them amused while flying to Nashville Monday, all Daymond Langkow, Brian McGrattan, Adam Pardy and Moss needed to bring on board were a few sheckles for their regular game.

“They have a deck of cards (and poker chips) already on the plane for us,” added Moss, insisting that no matter how short the list of carry-on options are, they’ll be fine.

“Most guys are just on their computers playing games, but I’m guessing now there’ll probably be another card game or two going because some guys don’t want to lug a computer or it’s too much of a hassle.”

While most people are of the belief athletes on charter flights are unaffected by the heightened airline security measures that have paralyzed many airports the last 10 days, the fact is they too are now unable to carry on much more than a laptop, ipod or book these days.

Thanks to the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound flight by a passenger on Christmas day no knapsacks, dufflebags or carry-ons outside of a purse or diaper bag are allowed.

“It is safety first and the new safety regulations in place affect us just like everybody else and rightly so,” said coach Brent Sutter before leaving for the team’s first flight since the Christmas incident.

“We deal with them. We understand why so we go with the flow and we’ll be fine.”

Interestingly, the team’s equipment managers actually have things a little easier these days as about a month ago airport officials altered the way the team loads its thousands of pounds of equipment into the cargo-hold.

Instead of carrying in heavy bags and boxes one by one to the departures gate to have every single item x-rayed before being allowed on the tarmac, officials with their bomb-sniffing dogs monitor everything loaded into the team’s cube-van at the Dome before sealing it and allowing it to be unloaded directly onto the aircraft.

While most players — and airplane passengers — can easily adjust to the new restrictions, don’t be surprised if Curtis Glencross isn’t as sharp as he has been of late as he’s coming to grips with the fact he can no longer tote his beloved pillow on flights.

“I usually just sleep on flights so I usually bring a neck pillow — not anymore,” he smiled of the minor inconveniences, which also include prohibiting the players from bringing a change of comfortable clothes for the flight, as opposed to keeping suits on.

“So on a two-game trip you have to bring two suits now because one gets wrinkled — it kind of sucks.”

While generally subjected to the same security and customs lines as the rest of the world, the players didn’t have to endure the almost three-hour security lineup in Calgary beat reporters toughed out Monday due to the fact charter groups are often channeled through differently.

No, its not H1N1 flu-shot-type of preferential treatment.

It’s just the way the system works — a system everyone has no choice but to adapt to.

Even those poor dogs.


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