Players in the NHL don't like it when they have to travel huge distances. No one wants to stay up until 1 AM while your brain is still on Eastern time playing a game in Vancouver. Travel complaints for Western Conference teams are valid things, but the KHL makes players in the NHL seem like small whiny children when these issues pop up.
Ryan O'Byrne is currently a forward for HC Lev Praha of Prague in the KHL. He recently had to deal with a nightmare travel schedule that would make Western Conference players feel blessed. They flew over 11,184 miles to travel to their game in Novokuznetsk, which they won 5-3.
To get to Novokuznetsk, Lev first had to stop in Novosibirsk, where the players and staff passed through passport control in Russia (there is no international airport in Novokuznetsk). To follow was a long layover, during which the players tried to catch up on their sleep or entertain themselves in other ways -- most watched a movie, while others watched sports (tennis for Klepiš, Sekáč and Vrána, football for Thörnberg). During the flight, the players also managed to do a bit of official KHL work, signing over 40 stamps that will be placed on special-edition KHL cards for the 2013/2014 season.Only after everybody boarded the plane destined for Novokuznetsk did they receive the the unpleasant news that bad weather would delay their arrival time. The team remained in the air 90 minutes, then headed back to Novokuzhnetsk. As local hotels were full, the team spent the night on board the plane. Finally, the team arrived in Novokuznetsk around noon local time. The journey wasn´t quite finished yet, though -- following a tedious wait for luggage was an hour journey by bus to the hotel. There, the players had only 90 minutes to change clothes, have lunch, and get a bit of rest before heading to the arena to get ready for the game in the evening.