Team USA has had to change its travel plans [updated]
Defenseman Jack Johnson of the Kings said he and his U.S. teammates have been scrambling to reschedule their flights out of Vancouver because they were booked to leave town before Sunday's gold- medal game against Canada.
"They scheduled all the Americans to fly out Sunday morning. Whoever is in charge of this scheduled us to fly out tomorrow morning and I think the Russians and Swedes are supposed to fly out on Monday," Johnson said. "I'm glad we get to change that."
The NHL Players Assn. handles players' travel arrangements for the Olympics, per the collective bargaining agreement. NHLPA spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon responded via email (the IIHF is the International Ice Hockey Federation):
"The NHLPA booked the traveling for hundreds of individuals, including players and their families and guests. Due to the significant amount of flights that needed to be booked, we proactively booked departing and returning flights for all players – with the return flights based on last year’s IIHF World Championships results and their national team’s IIHF ranking. It simply was not practical for us to wait on booking these return flights because of the large quantity of players and guests involved. NHLPA members from all nations were all made aware of this prior to the Olympics when they received their flight confirmation correspondence."
Johnson, who chartered a flight to Vancouver to participate in the Olympic opening ceremony, said he would not charter a flight back to Los Angeles. "I'll walk before I have to do that," he said.
After the Olympic break the Kings resume play Tuesday at Dallas, and Johnson said he's not sure whether he will go to Los Angeles or directly to Dallas. "I don't know. We're all up in the air as far as schedules.
"Quite frankly, if we win a gold medal I think we'll walk to wherever we have to go."
-- Helene Elliott, in Vancouver, Canada