SHENZHEN, China — As a substitute of skating, they had been ready.
The Calgary Flames’ training-camp journey to China began with an surprising twist Thursday — their first observe of the season was cancelled as a result of their tools had but to clear customs.
The Boston Bruins, their opponents for a pair of pre-season matchups on this far-off market, had been caught enjoying the identical ready recreation. Their skate was additionally scrapped.
“There are all the time unexpected points you need to cope with,” stated Flames GM Brad Treliving, chatting with reporters within the foyer of the group resort in Shenzhen. “So we’ll cope with it, and we’ll transfer on. It’s no person’s fault, however we’ll be actually desperate to go (Friday).
“We’ve stated, ‘If we need to have a terrific yr this yr, you’re going to must cope with adversity.’ Effectively, we’re coping with it on Day 1. It’s the way you react to it, and we’re going to be advantageous.”
The excellent news is customs officers lastly supplied the stamp of approval late Thursday afternoon, releasing the gear and permitting Calgary’s tools employees — and their cohorts from Boston — to arrange their dressing room at Shenzhen College Sports activities Middle.
The Flames and Bruins will each practise Friday, now their solely prep session for Saturday’s exhibition matinee.
“It’s a curveball, clearly,” summed up Flames celebrity Johnny Gaudreau. “It’s your first day of camp, you need to get on the ice along with your new teammates, your new teaching employees. However that’s the best way it goes.
“No huge deal. We’ll put it behind us and use at the present time to get to know some extra of the fellows. Simply attempt to use it to our benefit, I suppose, and prepare for tomorrow.”
The Flames arrived Wednesday night in China, by no means imagining they might open camp — their first below the helm of head-coaching rent Invoice Peters — with what amounted to a day-off.
Gaudreau, Mark Giordano & Co. had been scheduled to board the group bus at eight a.m. native time Thursday and to step onto the ice two hours later.
Their observe was initially postponed by 4 hours. The bus would roll at midday.
Besides that it didn’t.
With their skates and helmets, sticks and shoulder-pads nonetheless parked in a neat pile at airport customs, the Flames hung across the foyer for about an hour earlier than being instructed to separate and await additional directions.
Most had been simply ending lunch when observe was formally spiked.
“They’ve in all probability had three meals in the present day,” Treliving cracked. “It’s in all probability the one time that you just take a look at and then you definately go up in weight on Day 2 of camp. Everybody can be 5 kilos heavier tomorrow.”
That may apply to the reporters — it is best to see this breakfast buffet — however the skating stars possible don’t have to fret about it.
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Simply to make sure, the Flames headed to the resort health centre for an impromptu afternoon sweat, fairly a sight for the vacationers on treadmills.
“I believe we scared a number of folks cruising in there, as a result of there are plenty of us in there proper now,” stated Flames defenceman Michael Stone. “The factor that sucked (Thursday) was simply the unknown, actually. However now that we all know that we’re not going to be on the ice in the present day, all of us are within the fitness center — being collectively — and we’re having enjoyable doing it.
“So I believe it’s figuring out pretty much as good because it could possibly be.”
In spite of everything, the Flames determine this once-in-a-lifetime junket to the O.R.G. China Video games — after Saturday’s conflict, each groups will transfer to Beijing for the second cease — could possibly be the last word team-builder.
Their 26-man travelling roster features a half-dozen low season additions.
Plus, Peters and affiliate coach Geoff Ward are additionally new to the group.
“Clearly, it’s a day that we’re lacking of skating collectively, however you’re nonetheless doing issues along with your teammates — strolling across the metropolis, attending to know completely different gamers and simply hanging out,” Gaudreau stated. “Which is essential, as a result of we do have plenty of new faces. We have to construct some chemistry with these guys and to get snug with these guys earlier than we begin enjoying with them.
“So we’re not simply going to make use of it as a day-off. We’re going to get collectively, do some issues collectively and take advantage of it.”