by Joe Tasca on 10/03/12 at 07:00 AM ET
After a five year run, the Tampa Bay Lightning decided to sever ties with their minor league affiliate in Norfolk this past spring. Going forward, general manager Steve Yzerman felt his young prospects would be better served by playing in Syracuse.
It's interesting to note why the Lightning would want to move their farm club from Virginia to upstate New York:
“The human body can only do so much,” Crunch general manager Julien Brisebois said of the rigours of the extra-long treks from Virginia to other stops on the AHL trail. “Last year, we would literally sleep on a bus to and from (a road trip) every other weekend.
“We don’t do that once this year. That’s 18 nights we are going to sleep in our own bed this season that we didn’t last year and that’s huge. When you travel that much, the practice days are not the quality you would like, you are just getting the rust off. Now, every practice day we are going to get better. That’s what we’re here for ... we’re a development league.”
AHL teams based in the northeast have an incredibly easy travel schedule. A total of 12 teams are based in New England and New York, and those clubs play each other quite often. As Brisebois notes, the result is shorter bus trips, something that doesn't exist for a Norfolk team that's geographically isolated from the rest of the league.
Less travel, coupled with the additional practice time, explains why an NHL team in Florida would move its farm club to a city 1,300 miles away.
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About Tasca's Take
Tasca's Take is written by Joe Tasca. Born and raised in Westerly, Rhode Island, Joe works as a broadcaster for seven radio stations in southern New England. Whether that's a testament to his on-air ability or because he has a desparate need for money is debatable.
Joe spends his summers playing golf, enjoying the beauty of Misquamicut Beach, and wining and dining girls who are easily awed by the mere presence of a radio personality. During the winter months, he can usually be found taking in a hockey game somewhere in North America. In the spring, he spends much of his time in botanical gardens tiptoeing through the tulips, while autumn is a time to frolic with his golden retrievers through piles of his neighbors’ leaves.