Ducks and Admirals fans, I’m coming to you live from Binghamton, New York, where we play the first of three games in a row tomorrow night.
We took a tough 4-2 loss in our last game in Bridgeport, which had an 11 a.m. puck drop. Just about every team in the league does at least one of those games a year, kind of an outing for kids in the local schools. There were a lot of screaming kids in the stands, and the atmosphere is definitely different than a normal hockey game, but it was pretty exciting despite the loss.
The road trip has been pretty good. It’s our second one of the season and our first on the bus. You get a chance to get to know your teammates a little better and spend a lot of time with them. Our last road trip came to a rough end because of Hurricane Sandy. We were on our way back from St. John’s when it hit, and we had to reroute our flight to Toronto and then Raleigh, North Carolina, where we took a 3 1/2-hour bus ride the rest of the way. From the time we left our hotel in St. John’s, until we got back to Norfolk, it was a 16-hour travel day.
There has been a little damage in our area, but nothing close to what has been going on in other parts of the East Coast. My family lives in North Jersey, and they went without power for eight or nine days. There was a ton of debris and flooding around the house, but thankfully nothing inside the house got damaged and it’s holding up well.
We’ve got a tough weekend coming up with three games in three days – Binghamton, Springfield and Albany on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. In the AHL you have eight or nine stretches like this on the schedule, and this one is especially tough because we play two of the games earlier than normal and have bus trips after each game. It can be a little bit of a grind, especially if you have never played three-in-three before, like some of our new guys.
All of our rookies have been really good so far. It’s hard to think of some of them as rookies, because they have been playing pro in Europe for awhile. But you have guys like Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen who are playing really well in the back end for us. We have some veteran guys who are helping those guys in the blue line, so that helps, and our coaches have been great so far helping those guys out. They’ve stepped in and been impact players right away.
We had a team bowling day yesterday just outside of Binghamton involving all of the guys and the trainers. We broke up into four-man teams and my team – with Nate Guenin, Hampus Lindholm, Frederik Andersen – finished second, taking the combined score in three games. Nobody really “bowled the lights out” but we had a pretty good team.
Everyone on the team is taking part in Movember and we’re a few days into growing our mustaches. My pick for the best one would have to be Troy Bodie, since he’s been growing one since training camp. My pick for the worst? It will be a tight race between Mat Clark and Emerson Etem.
I’ll check back in next week after these three games and after we’re back home in Norfolk.
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