The numerous shuttles have not gone unnoticed by the players, who usually look pretty closely at the schedule early, then go through most of the season without even knowing half the time who the next opponent is. At that point, once they get into the cadence of playing, all they want to know is when the next bus or flight is leaving.
“I looked at it and yeah, I noticed it was really different from last year,” says veteran forward Mikael Samuelsson, who — turning 34 in December — might notice the frequency of trips more than some of the younger guys. “But you know with us players, there’s nothing we can do about it no matter what we say or do. It’s what we live with and it can’t be changed. You have to accept it no matter what it says in any year. You just try to keep yourself in the best possible shape to play the games as they come.”