What it really took to get our boys home from the wilderness of British Columbia... eventually, at 6:30 this morning.
If you follow the Blues players/broadcasters/media on Twitter, you probably already know this, but the Blues were stuck in Vancouver at the airport for several hours. It seems that the plane broke down, and needed a part that was not readily available. While waiting for the part to arrive and the plane to be repaired, there was a lot of downtime for the team. I'm sure that there's already a cover story of everyone eventually flying home as normal, which will be reported on the team website and in the papers. However, St Louis Game Time was able to get the scoop on how they really got home...
As soon as the original plane was deemed unfit to fly, things started to unravel for the Blues. There simply wasn't a contingency plan.
Kevin Shattenkirk told Jake Allen that he could fix the plane himself, he just needed some supplies. Jake was eager to help out in any way he could. Shatty told Jake to run to the southern-most hanger and get 2 gallons of compass water, and about 4 ... no make it 6 feet of Fallopian tubing.
That kept him occupied for a couple of hours. Eventually, he came back empty-handed and a little wiser.
In desperate times like this, a leader must step forward. Of course, there is no stronger example of leadership than the Captain, David Backes. As you may know, David already has his pilot's license, and was equipped to step in and take charge.
Unfortunately, Cap'n's license is for smaller aircraft than what the team is usually accustomed to. But, in a choice between creature comforts and not making it back in time for the game Tuesday night, sacrifices had to be made.
"OK, everyone, we're going to have to double up - veterans get the seats, rookies get the laps" was the rule that the team heard.
Immediately, there were mutters from disgruntled players, but the Cap'n soon had them in line.
Oddly, Berglund and Oshie immediately paired up. Berglund called Big Spoon.
Vladimir Tarasenko ended up sitting on Coach Hitchcock's lap. The flight would be a long series of lessons learned in hockey, and how Coach taught some guy named Brett how to play defense.
There was an odd-man-out situation, so one seat actually had to be triple-stacked. Jaden Schwartz thought it wasn't too bad to share a seat with Vladimir Sobotka... but then he had to host Darren Pang on his lap. Rookies just can't catch any breaks.
Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott had an issue with the luggage. They both insisted that their pads weren't really that big, and were certainly considered carry-ons. With a little extra effort, they were able to squeeze them into an overhead compartment.
Even after the seating arrangements were settled, the flight itself wasn't without a little drama. Throughout the entire flight, Backes had to keep slapping Chris Kerber's hands away from the plane's radio. "But I know how to use it! I'm on it all the time!" Kerber complained. "It's not the same, Chris. Not at all. Now settle down, or so help me, I WILL turn this plane around."
Wade Redden was really anxious throughout the flight. He kept screaming at every bit of turbulence, and told everyone within earshot that he cold see Glen Sather on the wings, clawing away at the engines. Nobody else saw anything, though. It was still plenty unnerving, nonetheless.
Finally, the flight arrives in St Louis; the team is a little worse for wear, but thankful to be home.
"Wait ... where's Happy Meal?"
They go back inside and discover that they have to pry Andy out from between the cushions.
"Guys.... GUYS!!! You wouldn't guess what I found in there!"
"Well, first a couple of Loonies, and a Krona or two. And a lot of cheetos.. but the craziest thing ..."
"I found Peter Sejna!"
Sure enough, there was a slightly-dazed draft-pick bust, wondering around the cabin. The team took up a collection, and got him a ticket back to Slovakia.
Finally, the team was home and could get a little rest before the Tuesday gameday routine. Everyone was sworn to secrecy, but you know how those things work. Hopefully nobody gets in trouble: sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. Even if it's to simply get home.