April 29, 2010
If a team is going to be fined for breaking curfew in the Stanley Cup postseason, you'd hope it'd be for a victorious celebration involving players partying until dawn and waking up with strange food in their playoff beards.
But the Detroit Red Wings might be facing a fine for breaking curfew while they ... slept on a plane?
After dispatching the Phoenix Coyotes in Game 7, the Red Wings' charter flew to Norman Mineta San Jose International Airport in preparation for tonight's opening game of their second-round series against the San Jose Sharks.
(The expedited schedule is due to the fact that The Eagles are playing HP Pavilion on Friday and Saturday; so it's just another reason why, in the immortal words of Jeffrey Lebowski, you should "hate the Eagles, man.")
Detroit's charter arrived at 12:19 a.m. local time. Or 49 minutes after a flight curfew at the airport, which presents the following problem, according to the Mercury News:
At stake: a potential $2,500 fine, unless the team can talk its way out of a late-night curfew, the same rule Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has grumbled about for years. To soothe nearby neighbors, the airport prohibits airliners from taking off or landing from 11:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., unless the late arrival is due to bad weather, mechanical problems or air traffic control -- all conditions outside the pilot's control, said airport spokesman David Vossbrink.
"Our practice is to send a notice to the operator that gives them 10 days to respond with information that we need to make a determination whether there's been a violation," said David Vossbrink, spokesman for the airport. "We sent that letter today."
Reader Vince C. sent in an interesting tidbit before Game 7 that's rather relevant now: The charter flight information for the Red Wings. He gets email alerts from flightaware.com, and the Wings filed a flight plan for Tuesday night that had them departing Phoenix Sky Harbor Intl. Airport at 9:30 p.m. PDT and arriving at 11:10 p.m. PDT in San Jose, well before the curfew.
The NHL reports Game 7 ended at 8:38 p.m. MST. Here's their actual flight info from that night:
The Wings told the paper they weren't aware of the curfew or the potential fine. Later, the team said it was willing to pay the fine, but may have a way out of it. If they don't successfully fight it, Detroit owner Mike Ilitch will be left with two options: Paying the $2,500 fine or buying the city of San Jose and changing the law. Because we're pretty sure he can afford to do either, or both.
Thanks to Puck Buddy Dustin K. for the tip. Photo via Ben Wang.
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