It appears it's not only St. John's IceCaps players and coaches who are putting on their game faces for the upcoming Calder Cup playoffs.
The club's management is also showing how serious it is about having the team be as prepared as possible for the American Hockey League post-season.
The IceCaps finish up their regular-season schedule in Manchester, N.H., Sunday. Normally, in such a case, the team would leave immediately after the game for Boston, where after a few hours in an airport hotel, it would catch a morning flight out of Logan to Toronto, beginning a trek back to St. John's that would take the better part of the day.
However, with the Boston Marathon being run Monday, there is no hotel space available in Beantown the night before, so the IceCaps were looking at having to stay overnight in Manchester, with wake-up calls around 4 a.m. in order to make it to Logan in time for their Toronto-bound plane.
Management has instead arranged for a charter flight out of Manchester and direct to St. John's after Sunday's contest. It's a much more expensive option that buys the team not only an easier return trip to St. John's, but an extra practice day.
"That's a big, big deal for us at this point of the season," said St. John's head coach Keith McCambridge. "For Glenn and Danny (IceCaps' chief operating officer Glenn Stanford and team president Danny Williams) to do that, shows their commitment to winning.
"I don't know if people realize how huge it is for us to get that extra day and the practice that comes with it. But we certainly do."
The IceCaps will leave Wednesday to begin their playoff run. Although it's not yet certain who they'll play in the first round, Game 1 will be Friday, April 20, with the second game either Saturday or Sunday, depending on the opponent.
The AHL has been handing out its year-end awards all week and it's no surprise to learn the majority of them have been garnered by members of the league-leading Norfolk Admirals.
The Admirals' Cory Conacher (72GP, 35-40-75) has been named rookie of the year, Norfolk's Mark Barberio (71GP, 13-47-60, plus-25) was the selection as the best defenceman and Jon Cooper, who has guided his team to a 52-18-3 record and a 25-game win streak entering tonight, was an easy choice as the top coach.
Yann Danis of the Oklahoma City Barons (25-13-2, 2.13 GAA, .923 save percentage) is the top goalie and Worcester's Nick Petrecki was voted the Yanick Dupre Award as the AHL's man of the year for work in the community.
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