BOSTON (CBS) — Traveling to the other side of the globe amid preseason preparation is enough of a challenge in and of itself for a hockey team, but the Boston Bruins have had an especially tough time over the past week in China.
The issues began almost immediately, as their equipment was stopped at Chinese customs and prevented them from partaking in their first on-ice workout, according to NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty. Though things appeared to have gotten on track since then, the problems persisted.
As detailed by Matt Porter of The Boston Globe, the Bruins once again were without necessary equipment for their practice in Beijing on Monday. The practice was delayed by more than five hours after the equipment had to be carried via truck across the country from their previous stop in Shenzhen.
The equipment issues come in addition to what was known to be a challenge going in — the heavy travel.
“After the 16-hour flight to get here, the Bruins had one practice canceled entirely, forcing them to work out at the hotel gym,” Porter wrote. “Monday’s was the second of three that has been affected. Between flights and buses, it took eight hours to make it from Saturday’s game in Shenzhen to their hotel in Beijing. After Wednesday’s game against the Flames, they will depart around 2 a.m. and fly 13 hours, landing in Boston around 3 a.m., given the time change. Experienced travelers know jet lag is worse coming back.”
No players, coaches or executives from the Bruins or the Flames — who are also on the China trip for two preseason contests — has complained, as the league is trying to expand the game to a new market. (Tuukka Rask did release some frustration on a poor stick, though.) But clearly, the trip to China — despite a team-bonding trek to the Great Wall — is not going entirely smoothly, as evidenced by Cam Neely’s comments to Porter.
“Fortunately, we were able to get on the ice today,” Neely said. “So that’s a good thing.”