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Distractions part of the price you pay

By Rick Tabaracci - Special to the Sun
April 21, 1996

At this time of year come a lot of different distractions.
Coping with these off-ice peculiarities goes a long way in how far a team advances through the playoffs.
You have the obvious pressure that always there to win. It just gets a little bit more intense at playoff time.
Along with the extra pressure of additional media coverage is the fact that your season's end hinges on every game. The key is to staying as relaxed as possible and just going out and playing your own game.
There there's the long-lost, second-cousin's-buddy's-best-friend who you've never heard of calling to see if you've got a couple of extra playoffs tickets around.
It can all get to be a bit much if you let it.
There was also a couple of other things that differ between playoffs and regular season. For starters, the coast-to-coast travel on a regular basis.
Games are every second night, and teams book a lot of charter flights to make the trips as comfortable as possible for players.
Another variance from the norm is staying in a hotel the night before a game even when we're "home" in Calgary. This is one method that some teams use to keep distractions to a bare minimum.
There's also the phone calls from your mom every other day to find out if you're playing and if the game is on television.
Last, but not least, there's the ongoing battle to beat the deadline and have your column written early.
Playoff time is a hectic time, no doubt. But it's also a lot of fun.
To tell you the truth, there isn't one player who would want any of these things to be different. Otherwise it just wouldn't be the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Without a doubt, they're the best time of year.

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