Fusspot rants, embarrassing photos of yourself and general correspondence go here: universalnicks@gmail.com

...because you'll get it when I say you'll get it. If that isn't good enough for you, go worship at the Church of the Lankster. (Ed. Note: Three people will get that reference.)

* I was glad to see the news of the NHL's (and other leagues') transborder travel conflict being taken with a semblance of seriousness late last week. AC Jetz is an extremely important entity amongst Air Canada, and it's one of the bright spots within a company that has experienced financial turmoil on a semi-regular basis. There are several options as of right now that both parties (the airline and teams) can look at: They could allow initial transborder travel to occur with AC Jetz, then have the teams use alternate U.S. charters within America, before returning home on their initial flight. Air Canada could potentially also look at the idea of returning the aircraft to Canada during trips, thereby creating all flights with a Canadian start point. However, the practicality of regularly ferrying an aircraft combined with fuel and maintenance costs would make this choice a long shot.

People underestimate how important a regular charter becomes to a team. Firstly, there's a physical comfort level. The players are well-fed and AC Jetz planes are configured with only first-class seats. (Aside: This creates an additional difficulty for the airline, because the plane can't simply be placed back into regular service during the season, although it will happen in extreme circumstances, such as weather issues.) Secondly, there's an emotional comfort that comes with it as well. The plane is made to feel like it belongs to the team. Players sit in the same spots, they're served by the same in-flights, and deal with the same staff on the ground. Everyone who works these flights also signs a confidentiality agreement, so sensitive issues needn't be exposed. It's not something the typical fan ever thinks about, but there's a lot of planning and care that goes into making sure these clubs arrive and depart without a hitch.

Hopefully this problem will be resolved soon, as I know how important this issue is to both sides. If you want to read more about life on the charter flights, check this link out. Google Toolbar will translate it for you into English with relative ease -- it isn't a perfect swap, but you'll get the gist.


* It's kind of interesting to watch/read the reaction of the Binghamton fans as the younger names pop up in the headlines (always typical during this time of year as camp draws nigh). You almost get a sense of them rolling at their eyes at the "big city bumpkins" (and yes, I get the irony) who don't have a clue as to what's going on at the farm level. Over the past few years, there has been a major disconnect between Bingo and Ottawa for a few reasons. The annual B-Sens game in Ottawa was stopped, and many prospects simply weren't ready for the NHL. Without regular viewing and updates on the AHL players, a great number of fans simply lost track. Thankfully with the return of the Bingo game (November 8th at SBP) and what seems like a resurgence in activity between Binghamton and Ottawa (particularly last year), hopefully the O-Sens fans will get a better idea of how their prospects are doing, beyond October.


And finally, did anyone else notice a difference with John Rodenburg back on the Team 1200 on Tuesday? Yeah, neither did I. His talent is going to waste on that morning program. Give him a proper timeslot, with or without a knowledgeable co-host, do some interviews, give some opinions...you know, like an actual sports radio show? What a concept.

More later.