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October 18, 2010

Pete Michaud's Blog: Hello from Binghamton!


Hello everyone! It’s hockey season, so it’s time for my first blog entry of the new year, with the first game of the year just a day away here in Binghamton, New York. It’s a mild day here with bright sunshine, which is something we don’t see much of here in Bingo once the season really gets going. The Admirals square off against the Senators tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. to get their year underway.

I’m writing on this Friday afternoon from the Broome Community College Ice Center, a very impressive skating facility here outside of Binghamton where the Admirals are just getting on the ice for a 1:15 p.m. practice today. It reminds me quite a bit of the Chilled Ponds facility out in Chesapeake, except this place has even more. Since it’s on campus, there are other athletic facilities here, including weight rooms, a gym, soccer and baseball facilities, an events center, a student lounge and more. It’s quite an upgrade from the public skating facility where the team practiced here last year and the players had to dress in the pro shop! The team can’t practice at the arena where they’ll play tomorrow because the Senators play their season opener tonight against Adirondack. I think Binghamton will have an edge on the Admirals having already played a real game by the time they hook up for Saturday’s contest.

Twenty-one guys made the trek to Bingo for the season opener. A couple of the injured players didn’t travel. Hopefully, those guys will be ready to go next Friday and Saturday for the home opening weekend against Worcester. The club left at midnight last night from Scope for the ride to Binghamton so they could make their afternoon practice time today, arriving at 8 a.m. today. Eight hours each way…16 hours of total bus time…is way too much for just ONE GAME! I hate these kind of trips. I don’t mind a two-week trip through seven cities in five states, but I don’t like the ‘up and back’ one game trips.

The most interesting facet of the first road trip of the year is the jockeying for bunks on the team’s sleeper bus that always takes place. The Admirals travel on a pretty nice, 25-bunk bus with satellite TV, a mini-fridge, microwave oven, and internet connection (although it’s very slow and doesn’t work at all at times…but anything is better than nothing!). The coaches, trainer and equipment manager claim the four forward bunks. As the longest tenured member of the organization on the bus, I pretty much always get the bunk I want, which is the floor-level bunk just behind the coaches. After that, it’s pretty much decided on seniority. The older, experienced guys get their pick and the younger players take what’s left. The rookies almost always get left with the less desirable top bunks. The European players seem to have taken a real liking to being in the front section of the bus with the coaches and staff, so Juraj Simek, Vladimir Mihalik, Radko Gudas and Jaroslav Janus are up front this year. James Wright kind of breaks things up by joining us in the front.

Speaking of Janus, he’s one of three goalies still on the roster. Cedrick Desjardins and Dustin Tokarski join Janus here in Binghamton. We’ve received no word from Head Coach Jon Cooper who starts or who sits tomorrow, but if you believe what you read, you’d think Desjardins would get the nod against Binghamton. By the way, his last name is pronounced ‘Day-zhar-day.’

Well, the boys are out on the ice and I’m off to watch practice. I’ll talk with you on the radio tomorrow. Remember that we’re on a new station this season…102.1-FM and 1490-AM, ‘The Game.’ You can also hear all the games AND the weekly ‘Admirals Hour’ talk show (Tuesdays 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.) online at 1021thegame.com, so I hope you’ll be listening. And feel free to write anytime you have a question or comment (pete@norfolkadmirals.com). Take care for now…




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