Air Canada Jetz

The Big Question: Is travel really a big factor in the NHL?


The Big Question will be a weekly feature on PHT where we ask a question, provide some background and ask you, the reader, to weigh in with your opinions.

Today’s question: Is travel really a big factor in the NHL?

One of the main reasons the Detroit Red Wings want to move to the Eastern Conference is to reduce travel. Henrik Zetterberg says long trips to the west are particularly tough during the playoffs. Thus, the club’s push for realignment at today’s NHL Board of Governors meetings at Pebble Beach.

Historically, it’s been Pacific Coast teams like the Canucks that have been the most vocal about excessive travel. Understandable, considering the closest NHL city to Vancouver is Calgary, a flight time of approximately 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, the New York Rangers can take the bus to and from road games against the Islanders and Devils. It’s not a long drive to Philadelphia, either.

Clearly it’s an advantage to play in the east when it comes to travel, but is it a huge advantage? After all, it’s not like the Canucks are flying coach. Vancouver uses Air Canada Jetz, a luxury charter service that sells itself with lines like, “Arrive at your destination relaxed, renewed and ready to take on the day!”

According to the website, “Jetz charter planes are outfitted with over 64 Executive First class seats in total, and two tables per plane, along with a luxurious seat pitch of 48″. We are proud to offer comfort, convenience and high quality service to our discerning business and leisure clients, a luxury travel experience that far exceeds anyone’s expectations.”

Of course, a luxury charter can’t do anything about jetlag, which is one of the reasons the Canucks employ a “sleep expert.”

So…what do you think? Is travel a big factor in the NHL? Or does everyone just need to get a hold of themselves?

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

Jarret Stoll, Mats Zuccarello
Leave a comment

For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.

They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.

This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
1 Comment

Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Here’s video of Abdelkader’s hat trick: