Rookie Adams Shuttles Between
Everblades, Grand Rapids Note: John Adams was recalled to Grand Rapids after the following story appeared in the Sunday edition of the Naples Daily News.

By Andy Kent
Naples Daily News

ESTERO, Fla. – Staying in one place period has been a challenge for Florida Everblades rookie defenseman John Adams, and that doesn’t just pertain to his style of play on the ice.

The 23-year-old Minnesotan, who seems to be everywhere during a game, has logged more miles in the air since finishing up his college career with Boston College last spring than some businessmen accumulate in 20 years.

That’s a likely fact without even considering the yo-yo he has become over the last month to Florida and to the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins.

Adams’ reassignment to Southwest Florida’s ECHL team Tuesday marked the third time in a month he had been sent down by the Griffins, and the second in a two-week span. He was sent down Feb. 1 after signing with Grand Rapids on Jan. 17, then was called up Feb. 17, only to be sent down the next day. His last call-up came Feb. 23 and lasted five days.

“I was filling in for a guy in Grand Rapids who was hurt, so he came off the IR and was playing (last) Sunday,” said Adams, who has 15 points (1 goal, 14 assists) in 34 games with Florida. “I was playing Friday and Saturday but didn’t play Sunday in Hershey on the road trip, and when the guys got hurt down here (five defensemen are injured), both Grand Rapids and Florida thought it would be awesome for me to keep skating.”

Whatever it takes to achieve his ultimate goal of someday playing in the NHL, that’s how Florida head coach Gerry Fleming describes Adams.

Looking at Adams’ travel itinerary, starting with a trip to Buffalo, N.Y., in the summer to attend Sabres training camp, it’s a wonder he even knows what time it is each day.

Next it was over to Rochester, N.Y., with the AHL’s Americans, then to Augusta, Ga., for a week with the ECHL’s Lynx. After that, Adams received an offer from a team in Germany, so he went to Munich, then got shipped up to Duisberg in the DEL, where he spent a week-and-a-half. When that didn’t work out, he went to Krefeld and then to Triere to stay with a friend for a week while waiting on a deal in Finland. Adams got impatient and returned to the U.S.

He flew from Germany to Trenton, N.J., for a day to see if the Titans would offer him a deal, and decided to play for the Everblades, signing Nov. 9 after talking to team president and general manager Craig Brush. Adams played 23 games, then was loaned to the AHL’s Springfield Falcons on Jan. 17, and Grand Rapids watched him there and offered him a contract.

“If they could only all be the same airline that would be great,” Adams joked. “I’m not unpacking the mid-size suitcase anymore, I just leave that sucker packed. Then when we go on the road with Florida I’ll bring some cold-weather clothing just in case, to be prepared.”

Everblades forward Kevin Bergin was Adams’ roommate early on because the two joined the team around the same time. Bergin was traded from Las Vegas on Nov. 8 and caught on with the Blades on the road in Atlanta.

Bergin and Adams clicked right away, with Adams’ parents and Bergin’s parents also becoming friendly. Adams’ parents own a place in Estero’s Miromar Lakes and winter there. Bergin’s parents visited a couple of times from Montreal.

“He’s the only guy to play with more teams in one year than me and I played for five,” said Bergin, who actually played for three different teams in 2002-03 (Trenton, Pensacola and Cincinnati). “When he started getting called up, called down, called up, called down, the room was always empty so they put (rookie goaltender) Kevin Nastiuk with me.

“I was the happiest guy ever when I saw (Adams) at the morning skate (last week) because I was wearing the white jersey the day before and I thought I was going to have to play defense.”

Because of lack of space at the apartment complex where the team houses its players, Fleming had to ask Adams’ parents if they could put their son up for a couple days.

From the moment Adams first put on an Everblades sweater, Fleming was impressed.

“His work ethic is second to none to anyone I’ve ever coached on the Everblades,” Fleming said. “He’s a consummate professional and he understands that in order to get where he wants and to accomplish his dreams and goals he’s got to get on planes and travel, and he doesn’t say boo, he just does it.”

Now all Adams needs is a frequent flyer card.