NEWARK — When Canes forward Zac Dalpe took the bus from the team hotel to the Prudential Center today for the morning skate, it had to be the shortest trip he has made in a week.
In the past week, Dalpe was reassigned to the Charlotte Checkers (AHL) and played two AHL games before being recalled Monday. He has been here, there and ... well, let him tell it:
"I went from Raleigh to Charlotte on Wednesday. Then we had 5:30 a.m. flight out of Charlottte to Chicago, except we had to connect through Dallas. We were going to Milwaukee, so we flew to Dallas and then Chicago and bussed to Milwaukee.
"We played Milwaukee, then bussed to Grand Rapids. From Grand Rapids, we bussed back to Rockford. Played in Rockford and bussed to Chicago. Had a 5:30 a.m. flight the next morning to Charlotte, direct. Then flew from Charlotte to Newark last night."
Unfortunately for Dalpe, there are no frequent-flyer miles involved. Just a lot of miles.
Not that the travel has him a bit weary. Having not played a game with the Canes since his lower-body injury in Buffalo on Oct. 14, he's eager to get back to it.
"I'm good to go," he said, smiling. "That's all part of the process. You hear stories all the time of guys getting called up and all the travel they have to go through. I love it."
Of the games with the Checkers, Dalpe said, "The main focus was conditioning. I also felt comfortable with making plays and kind of got more confidence with the puck. I'm not saying I didn't up here but I got a little more minutes down there and more in key situations. I didn't score anything but I helped the team win and I'm excited to be back up here, for sure."
Dalpe, who made the Canes' roster out of training camp, did not have a point in his first five games this season. The injury in Buffalo was upsetting in that his parents and a number of friends had come in from Paris, Ont., for the game.
"It was a downer but like I said, I'm a pretty positive guy and I'd rather get hurt trying to make a hard play than getting hurt in like a freak accident," he said. "It was unfortunate, the timing of it, because I felt I was just getting rolling. Hopefully the two games (in Charlotte) were an indicator I'm ready to go."