Panthers’ plane problems made for ‘one of the most unique’ days of Mitchell’s career


Tough end to an otherwise solid road trip for the Florida Panthers.

The Panthers, who won four of their first five on a six-game swing, got blasted 8-2 in the finale at Winnipeg, then spent a long (12 hour) Wednesday dealing with flight delays due to problems with the team’s charter, which was deemed unfit to fly.

From the Florida Sun-Sentinel:

Panthers captain Willie Mitchell said the trying day of travel was another form of adversity the improving Panthers must learn to cope with if they are to mature into a playoff team.

It added indignity to an 8-2 drubbing by the Jets the night before that put a sour end to the most productive extended trip the Panthers have ever had. They went 4-2 to earn eight of a possible 12 points on the 14,076-mile trek.

“It was a unique day, one of the most unique in my pro career,” said Mitchell, a 13-year NHL veteran who began his professional career in 1998-99.

Extra time to kill did provide the opportunity for players and coaches to catch up on email, phone calls and pay bills via mobile devices. The downside was that the replacement plane did not have the roominess and comforts that enable a road-weary team to rest and recuperate on the flight home.

“It’s tough to sleep on a regular plane. Guys were trying to lie down on seats, so you’ve got some sore necks and backs today,” Mitchell said after Thursday’s morning skate, adding, “It’s all part of the maturation process that you’ve got to handle adversity to be a winner.”

No word if Willie went with the cookies, or fiesta snack mix.

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