One of the things coaching searches have taught me over the years is that tracking airplanes can be a very valuable method of figuring out who candidates are for a job. I was hoping it would also be a valuable method of tracking the Detroit Red Wings' movements with some of their top free agent targets, but I made the mistake of only keeping an eye on the flight log of Red Bird III, which has been busy flying the Detroit Tigers around the last couple weeks.
On Tuesday, @clipper377, a user on Twitter, made quite the discovery: One of Mike Ilitch's other planes landed in Madison, Wisconsin, on Tuesday afternoon and has a return flight to Detroit scheduled to land shortly before 5 p.m. ET. The plane is scheduled to be in Madison for only a brief period of time, and the speculation is that it was sent to either pick up defenseman Ryan Suter, who lives in Madison, or to fly the Red Wings in for a meeting with Suter.
Now, obviously this could just be another coincidence. After all, a lot of people thought a Mike Babcock sighting at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport on Tuesday morning meant he was meeting with Zach Parise, but in reality he was probably just there to connect to a flight home to Saskatchewan.
That disclaimer aside, this seems almost too good to be a mere coincidence. I mean, it would be pretty random for a plane in the Olympia Aviation fleet -- a plane that even has a Little Caesars logo on it -- to go Madison for such a brief amount of time, right? This seems like a "where there's smoke, there's fire" type of situation.
UPDATE: The Red Wings did in fact meet with Suter on Tuesday, according to a report.