Sunday morning the Rangers woke up in Sweden. Sunday night they went to sleep in Switzerland.
In between the Rangers also traveled to Slovakia. And they found time to actually play a game!<p>Such is the rolling road show that is the New York Rangers tour through Europe.
“I think our players are tired, and still trying to get used to the time change, as well,” noted head coach John Tortorella. “But (the start of the regular season) is close. Next Friday is close. I’m really looking forward to using the two practice days we have next week to prepare us.”
But before looking ahead, it’s worth a quick review of the day that was Sunday.
7:00-9:00 AM—All luggage to be stowed on the team’s charter plane had to be dropped off in the hotel lobby in Gothenburg, Sweden for early transport to the airport (all equipment had been checked through earlier).
9:45 AM—The first of two buses leaves for the airport.
11:30 AM—After clearing nearly 70 members of the traveling party through security, the team’s charter plane takes off for Bratislava, Slovakia.
1:05 PM—The Rangers’ charter arrives in Bratislava, and the traveling party get on two buses to head into town. The bus carrying the players is the team transport for the HC Slovan hockey club, the Rangers’ opponent on Sunday. It is decorated on the outside with signage celebrating the 90th year of the Slovan team.
1:30 PM—The Rangers arrive at a downtown Bratislava hotel for a pre-planned team meal. A host of local fans and media are awaiting the arrival of the Blueshirts’ Slovak star Marian Gaborik. After eating the players walk around the corner to Slovneft Arena.
5: 10-7:30 PM—Just a few hours after arriving in another country, the Rangers are on the ice to play a pre-season contest against HC Slovan. After a to-be-expected sluggish start, the Rangers come alive and dominate the final 40 minutes of play en-route to a 4-1 victory.
8:00 PM—The two buses begin to roll back to the airport, leaving the players just 30 minutes to undress, pack up their gear, handle interview requests, and shower.
9:30 PM—Facing a local liftoff curfew, the Rangers charter is wheels up after all passengers clear security and all equipment is finally loaded on to the plane. In total, the Rangers spent just eight and a half hours in the country of Slovakia.
10:15 PM—The Rangers land in Zurich, Switzerland, site of Monday’s game against HC Zug.
To say that it takes near military-type precision to pull off three countries, two flights, and one game over an 11-hour span is quite the understatement.
But the Rangers get it done. And Monday is a new day.
Jim Cerny-October 2, 2011