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Snow storms lead to a long, cold night for Patrik Elias and Travis Zajac

Dec 28, 2010, 12:38 AM EDT

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When Joe wondered whether the NHL made the wrong choice when it didn’t postpone Sunday’s Toronto Maple Leafs-New Jersey Devils game, he rightly focused on how much danger fans might have gone through to attend the snow-challenged contest.

Apparently the “state of emergency” in New Jersey affected players on each team, too. While the Leafs’ bus had trouble navigating the snowy roads of Newark, Devils forwards Travis Zajac and Patrik Elias faced a true air conditioned nightmare last night.

We’ll go into greater detail about their long night on a New Jersey highway, but here’s a quick synopsis: Elias and Zajac left the game around 10:45 pm yet they didn’t get home until about 7:30 in the morning. Rich Chere of the Newark Star-Ledger captures the experience of spending nearly eight hours stranded between exits 10 and 11 on Route 280 in Newark.

“The company was good but the situation was terrible,” Zajac recalled today after the Devils practiced at the AmeriHealth Pavilion in snowy Newark. “It wouldn’t have happened in Winnipeg. A little snow doesn’t shut down the whole state (province).”

(snip)

“We slept in the car. All we had was one pack of peanuts,” Zajac said. “They shut down 280 and we were in the middle of it. It was at a standstill.”

Elias kept the motor running and the heater on all night.

“We did nothing. We sat there frustrated. We listened to some music– 102.7 FM– and I dozed off a couple of times,” Elias said. “I had my car on the whole time. I wasn’t going green at that time.”

Well, good thing Elias wasn’t low on gas/battery power, right? If they were in a buddy comedy such as “Pineapple Express,” then surely they would have been forced to abandon their car for a snowmobile and hijinx would ensue.

Instead, they were forced to take place in a hard-skating practice just a few hours after they got home.

Hey, they’re hockey players though, right? A little snow probably didn’t stop them growing up, so why would it now?

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