Penguins vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Checking in From St. Petersburg

Saturday, 10.2.2010 / 7:04 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Checking in From St. Petersburg

Greetings from Russia, where the Hurricanes have just checked in to their hotel in the heart of St. Petersburg (so says our bus driver – I have yet to confirm).

Click here for photos from the Hurricanes' arrival in Russia

Paul Branecky
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We’ve just arrived after a long but not too difficult flight over the Atlantic. Our plane took off from Raleigh at 6 p.m. – just two hours after the exhibition win against Atlanta – and stopped briefly in Halifax, Nova Scotia before making the jump across the pond. We landed in St. Petersburg at approximately 1 p.m. local time, which equates to 3 a.m. back home.

During the flight, players were strongly encouraged (I’m not clear if they had a choice) of when to eat and rest in order to minimize the effects of jet lag. Lights were out as soon as we left Halifax, with everyone roused to eat breakfast a few hours later on St. Petersburg time. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I actually feel pretty good right now, so maybe there’s something to the regimented routine.

Upon arrival we went through customs, where our passports were taken and not given back. Upon our requests to keep them, we were met with a polite smile and wave to move on through the process. Hopefully we make it to Helsinki on time.

Russian media was there to greet the players, with Eric Staal and Anton Babchuk getting the one-one-one treatment while teammates heckled from the nearby buses (which I believe you can see in the background of the Staal photos. The press needed no introduction to Babchuk, but upon being told that the tall blond fellow was Eric Staal, they said something along the lines of “Hey! We know!” 

Photos from our bus ride can be found in the attached gallery. Among the highlights was the driver, Andrei, telling us that the dreary day is somewhat typical of the local weather.

”You can see the normal color of the sky,” he said in a thick Russian accent that had hints of Borat in it. “It is really grey.”

We also saw the Victory Monument to the siege of Leningrad (which it was then called) in World War II, the national library, the statue of Katherine the Great in front of a prominent performing arts hall and a building called Stroganoff Palace (“I am sure you know of beef stroganoff,” said Andrei).

After the 30-minute ride (there was some traffic at the end, producing another great line from Andrei: "the problem is cars"), everyone’s bags seemed to arrive safe and sound. There were a few reps from Red Bull waiting for us, and since we all wore matching Hurricanes track suits on the plane, one of them apparently mistook me for a player. If anyone finds a photo of me taking a swig on the Russian Red Bull Web site (they insisted), please let me know.

Now we’re off for a walking tour of the city, and I believe the players have a scheduled off-ice workout before too long. I’ll have more updates and photos later tonight.

UPDATE: The gallery has been updated with more photos and captions for all.  The brisk team walk, led by Pete Friesen, served as the scheduled off-ice workout after the long trip.  On the street, people definitely recognized the logos on the jumpsuits - I heard more than one passer-by say "Car-o-LEE-na," as the pointed and explained to friends.

I'll update again from tomorrow's practice.


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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 74 46 20 8 195 162 100
2 NYR 72 46 19 7 219 167 99
3 TBL 74 46 21 7 242 191 99
4 NYI 74 44 25 5 226 205 93
5 PIT 73 40 22 11 202 181 91
6 DET 72 39 21 12 208 195 90
7 WSH 73 39 24 10 212 180 88
8 OTT 72 37 24 11 212 190 85
9 BOS 73 36 25 12 193 190 84
10 FLA 73 33 26 14 180 201 80
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 NJD 73 31 31 11 164 186 73
13 CBJ 73 34 35 4 198 228 72
14 CAR 72 26 36 10 165 199 62
15 TOR 74 27 41 6 193 237 60
16 BUF 73 20 46 7 138 245 47

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 72 14 31 -20 45
E. Staal 67 19 25 -14 44
E. Lindholm 71 16 19 -21 35
J. Skinner 67 18 12 -21 30
V. Rask 70 11 18 -13 29
R. Nash 66 8 16 -11 24
N. Gerbe 68 7 17 -13 24
J. McClement 72 6 13 -4 19
A. Nestrasil 44 6 13 4 19
J. Staal 36 4 14 -9 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 18 21 5 .910 2.44
A. Khudobin 8 15 5 .903 2.62