The Anaheim Ducks are only halfway through their toughest road trip of the season — an eight-game, 15-day, 7,700-plus mile odyssey through Detroit, Columbus, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Florida, Tampa Bay and Carolina — yet head coach Bruce Boudreau’s already had enough of it.
“This is ridiculous,” he told the Orange County Register. “The East has no idea how lucky they are. And I think every team in the West should start with 10 points before the season starts.”
While grueling travel is nothing new to Western Conference vets — heck, the Vancouver Canucks have a sleep doctor on staff to combat endless time zone changes — it is to Boudreau, who spent the last four-and-a-half years with Washington.
“For a guy that’s played in the East or coached in the East as well, I don’t know how they do it,” he said. “I really don’t. It’s quite a testament to every team in the West’s character for not griping as much as I’m doing right now about it.
“You don’t even know what hotel room you’re getting into. You forget the hotel rooms and everything during the course of the day on this trip. It’s pretty wild.
“But it is what it is. You can’t use it as an excuse and you’ve got to keep going.”
The travel hasn’t affected the Ducks much — they’re 3-0-1 thus far while allowing just six goals — though that may have to do with a heightened sense of desperation. Anaheim has clawed its way back into playoff contention and is just eight points back of eighth-place Los Angeles with a game in hand.
That said, Boudreau knows there’s still a long way to go.
“When you have a four-game road trip in seven days, you’re coming home exhausted,” he explained. “We’re at seven days right now and this is just the halfway point in our trip.”