Northern tour, Day 2: 93 degrees of separation

YELLOWKNIFE, NWT – This wasn’t your run of the mill game day morning for NHL players.

No charter flight and team baggage handlers Sunday morning. After a 6 am wake-up call, players were lugging their bags and sticks through the Edmonton airport at 7 am, jumping aboard Canadian North (“Seriously North” is the airline motto) Flight 444 bound for Yellowknife at 8 am.

In the minutes leading up to take off, there was considerable doubt as to whether the flight could even land in Yellowknife because 18 inches of snow fell overnight Saturday. The alternatives included Hay River to the south.

Yet once they finally did land into a winter wonderland for the opening stage in the Northern Lights Dream Tour (so dubbed by media liaison Mike Beasley), there were feasts and smiles all around.

Senators goaltener Craig Anderson, who travelled here from his home in Ft. Lauderdale Saturday, did acknowledge it being a little bit of a shock to the system. It was minus 13 in Yellowknife when the players landed and apparently nobody bothers keeping track of the wind chill factor. “It was 80 degrees (Fahrenheit) in Florida yesterday,” Anderson said. “No difference, really…just about 100 degrees.” Stop exaggerating, Craig. It’s only 93 degrees separation between South Florida and Yellowknife.

Sunday, 11:51 a.m.

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