Playoffs add new dimension for equipment managers

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The job of an NHL equipment manager is a busy one, and participating in the Stanley Cup Playoffs doesn't make it any easier.

Derek Settlemyre is in his fourth season as Head Equipment Manager of the Philadelphia Flyers and currently is experiencing his third trip to the postseason.

Previously, he served as the Philadelphia Phantoms' head equipment manager since the American Hockey League team's inception in 1996. Settlemyre served as an assistant equipment manager for the Florida Panthers and Flyers prior to joining the Phantoms.

Settlemyre worked with the United States team at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and was head equipment manager for the U.S. at the 2007 World Championships in Moscow. He also served as co-head equipment manager for the U.S. at the 2006 World Championships in Riga, Latvia.

Settlemyre recently took time to discuss with his role during the Stanley Cup Playoffs while preparing for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against New Jersey. Does your role change any during the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

Settlemyre: Basically, the routine is the same with the exception of staying on the road and extra day or two, but the main thing is the carrying of a couple of extra players. That the biggest thing as far as equipment goes. Making sure we have enough extra laundry for those extra players and in case your games go to overtime. How many extra players are with the Flyers now, and do you have to add more staff because of them?

Settlemyre: We have nine extra players come in from the Phantoms (Philadelphia's AHL affiliate). Their season ended, so they came in and we did have their equipment manager, Damion Parmelee, join us. So we have four extra players with us here and the rest stay back at the Skate Zone (practice facility), and they're skating there while we're gone. With your regular players, after going through an 82-game regular season, how much equipment changing goes on, replacing worn-out gear?

Settlemyre: As far as the jersey's go, we get a whole new set for the playoffs. As far as the equipment goes, most guys … the biggest things they change are their skates and their gloves.

It's funny -- with Mike Richards, last week he took a pair of gloves right out of the box and wore them that night. Didn't even skate in them in the morning, just wore them for the game at night. We have a few guys that will actually do that. The way gloves are made now, the players can basically break them in during the morning skate. How about switching for new pants, new socks for the playoffs? Anything else that we might see new?

Settlemyre: We try to keep our pants in good shape, so if I have to I'll change just the shell. It's hard to get a guy to change a pair of pants. I have a few guys who like doing it, but for the most part most don't. As far as socks go, we only wear the socks for two games and then I toss them and make a new set. This is your third year in the playoffs with the Flyers. What are some of the memorable moments that come up in the playoffs that stem from your job?

Settlemyre: The first year we didn't get into the playoffs, then the next year we made it to the Eastern Conference Finals, that Game 7 (in the first round) in Washington was pretty memorable, when Joffrey Lupul scored the overtime goal.

So far we're pretty happy to be where we are, but I don't want to jinx anything. You've won two AHL Calder Cups, in 1998 and 2005. When you get that far into the playoffs, so close to a championship, do some players have any specialized needs for equipment or develop superstitions or habits where they don't want to change a pair of socks because they're so close to the end?

"One of the biggest things about equipment when you get into June is it's so hot, and the equipment is just so wet. Almost every guy in the room has cold towels wrapped around them. Even though you're in an air-conditioned building, everyone seems to be so hot, and the equipment is always soaking wet." -- Derek Settlemyre, Flyers head equipment manager When you won the Calder those two times, were you part of the team that helped set up the locker room before the players went in to celebrate?

Settlemyre: I was on the bench. After the final horn we have to get the equipment off the ice. That's the biggest thing, but I had a lot of help with kids working for me, putting it all in laundry bins and rolling it off the ice. Both times I've never lost a piece of equipment, which I've found to be unbelievable.

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