Snow way: Blackhawks players share their travel horror stories
With nearly a foot of snow bearing down on the Chicago area Thursday night into Friday, I thought it would be fun to ask current and former Blackhawks about past travel headaches.
I first ran into Steve Konroyd, the Blackhawks color TV analyst and former defenseman who played in Chicago from 1988-92. His travel mishap came during the 1990-91 season, although it had nothing to do with the weather.
"Being the cheap guy that I am, I parked in the E lot at O'Hare," Konroyd said. "Had to wait 45 minutes for a bus. As we got to the gate, the plane starts taxiing out. I asked a woman if it could stop and she said no."
Konroyd was forced to take another flight two hours later -- and despite hard-nosed Mike Keenan being his coach -- he played in the game. The irony here is that the $5 or $10 Konroyd saved by parking in the remote lot cost him a $200 fine that went into the team's end-of-season party pot.
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Walking into the Hawks locker room, I bumped into Duncan Keith next. The 34-year-old must have an epic story or two, right?
"I got nothing for ya. Sorry."
That's OK, because there's a certain goalie who probably has 100 stories after spending almost a decade in Russia.
"I'll try to trump everybody," says a smiling Jeff Glass. "We were in Moscow and at our hotel. We didn't have morning skate because of the snow. We gave ourselves three hours to get to the rink, which usually takes 20 to 25 minutes."
The bus leaves and literally inches along on the nearly impassable street.
"It took us an hour and 45 minutes to get a block and a half away," Glass said.
"We ended up walking to the subway and taking the subway to the game. We got there 20 minutes before warmup, so they pushed the gametime back half an hour."
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After striking out with Nick Schmaltz, Jordan Oesterle and Erik Gustafsson (I was stunned they didn't have at least one horror story), I got a good one from 23-year-old Ryan Hartman from his junior-hockey days.
Four years ago, Hartman's team bus tried navigating through a snowstorm on the way to Sarina, Canada, which is 70 miles north of Detroit. It turned into quite a journey.
"We got about halfway there and the snow was getting so bad that we had to turn around," Hartman said. "Then the highway was closed, so we kind of just sat there forever."
The players cracked out some cards, playing Euchre and cribbage to pass the time.
"They debated if we were going to go back home, but decided to try to push through," Hartman continued. "Then they had to delay the game even more because something got messed up with the other team's travel.
"We get almost all the way there and ended up going home anyway. It was a big mess."
Hartman said they made up the game on another day when they were traveling past Sarina. A "snow-day" doubleheader, if you will.