It remains true that, as a whole, hockey players are among the most accommodating in all of sports. I know full well if I should end up in another game, the boys of the NHL will likely have spoiled me.
For years, I've watched on TV as my PR colleagues at some of the other pro teams try to stop their athletes for post-game interviews and get run over, as if they weren't even there. At the Islanders the last few years, I only had that trouble with one kid - and he usually apologized or made up for it some other way.
That said, I'm not sure the gap between the otherworldly likability of NHL players - "hockey guys are by far the coolest, best guys in sports!" - and other pro athletes is as big as it once was.
For anyone in the NHL who has ever mitched and boaned about how the schedule takes away from their personal lives, let's take a look at the recent itinerary of the New York Mets, shall we?
After having the day off on Monday, May 19 - on the heels of playing games 10 straight days (all in New York, at least!) - the Mets had this schedule:
May 20 (day/night doubleheader)-21-22: in Atlanta
May 23-24-25: in Colorado
May 26-27-28: vs. Florida at Shea (note the lack of day off with the flight from Colorado to NY)
May 29-30-31: vs. Los Angeles
Sunday night, June 1: vs. Los Angeles (for ESPN)
Monday, June 2: in San Francisco (yes, you read that correctly - Sunday night game in New York, flight across the USA and game in San Fran less than 24 hours later).
June 3-4: in San Francisco
June 5-6-7: in San Diego
That's 21 games in 20 days, folks, and it gets even better.
Tonight, after flying 6 hours after the Padres game yesterday, would be the one night off before the Mets play another 9 games in 9 days - the last 3 in Los Angeles before a day off and continuation of another road trip. It would be the only night besides June 26 when David Wright and the boys could stay at home.
However, God bless them, it's not.
Here's the press release:
FLUSHING -- The New York Mets today announced that Carlos Beltran, Ryan Church, Carlos Delgado, Aaron Heilman, John Maine, Jose Reyes, Johan Santana, Brian Schneider, Scott Schoeneweis, Billy Wagner, David Wright, and Mets Hall of Famer Tom Seaver have confirmed their participation in the Mets Foundation's "Teammates in the Community" fundraiser Monday night, June 9 at Richards in Greenwich, Conn.
Am I saying anyone should feel sorry for a pro athlete's schedule? Of course not.
For my old colleagues in PR, marketing and community relations, I simply recommend clipping and saving this just in case a hockey player - as one once told me - tells you he doesn't even have time to go to the bank.
In a related subject, an NHL higher-up told me earlier this season that the difference between the travel schedules of the Eastern (easy) and Western (insane) conferences is "practically scandalous."
Just for a goof, estimate how many miles the Detroit Red Wings had flown this season compared to their rival in the Final, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
When you're done adding it up, you'll realize the Red Wings winning four Stanley Cups in 11 years is an even more remarkable accomplishment.
Why I'm Still Rooting - Trottier and Bossy
After a long stretch away from the Islanders for their own separate reasons, Bryan Trottier and Mike Bossy returned to the Islanders in recent years for all the right reasons.
Understand this: neither Bossy (corporate development) and Trottier (player development) have mail-it-in, candy-ass jobs. I saw with my own eyes that they work hard and with a ton of pride.
Nothing would be better than to see the Islanders back on top, and Trottier and Bossy there to share in the exhilaration.
I know. It seems like I haven't talked much pure hockey lately. I promise to down the stretch. It appears I will be working in another sport for the next while, but I look forward to blogging about this great game whenever I can. I'm not a Mets fan, but seeing their game and charity schedule inspired me to understand that you can always make time.