Over the course of a 76-game schedule, players in the American Hockey League log tons of hours sitting stationary on a bus, hauling them from city to city. Some of these bus trips are longer than other, so members of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have found different ways to entertain themselves during these rides.
There’s frequently a movie being shown on small TV screens suspended from the bus’ ceiling (for which many of the choices this season have been questionable at best). A competitive card game organized by the team’s veterans is always taking place. Some players prefer to drift off into their own bubble with noise-canceling headphones playing their favorite songs or TV shows.
And then there are Dominik Simon, Barry Goers and Stuart Percy.
Simon and Percy are two of the few Penguins who prefer to thumb their way through a book while traversing the highways of the United States’ Northeast region.
“With books and novels and whatnot, you create what you want the story to be rather than a (TV) show,” Percy said. “That’s what they see it as. So reading gets your mind working, and it can get your mind off things, too.”
Percy’s currently enjoying The Yankee Years, partly written by former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre about the club’s dynastic domination of Major League Baseball in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Goers prefers “spiritual” literature, by his own description. Simon, on the other hand, is slowly paging his way with Fasandræberne by Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen. An English copy of the book is titled The Absent One, but Simon decided to pick up his copy of the Nordic thriller in his native language of Czech.
Fasandræberne is… uh, we’ll just let him explain it.
“It is like a crime book,” he said. “There was like a murder of a some kids and it was bad and they thought they had it solved. But then years later some girls from the friend group of the original murders, they’re dead and kidnapped, and the police find out they might be wrong and they have to find out what’s happening.
“It’s a good book. I like it.”
While Simon admits he’s taken longer than he would like to finish the title because he’s started to join in on the card games more this season, he considers the lengthier trips an ideal time to sit down with a book.
“It’s a good way to kill the time,” he said. “I like to just put headphones in my ears, and read the book. It’s nice when you have the time, like at home after practice or one the bus or something. That’s the time that’s perfect for me. In that free time or before I go to bed, that’s when I like to read a book.”
With the Penguins’ second seven-game road stretch of the season coming to a close and it being Read Across America Week, maybe Simon will finally finish Fasandræberne and borrow an installment from Goers’ collection. Maybe.