UPDATE — GAME PUSHED BACK TO 7PM:
The National Hockey League and the Boston Bruins have announced that the start time for the Bruins/Lightning game on Saturday, February 9 has been moved to 7:00 p.m. at the TD Garden due to the weather.
The game was originally scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 9 at the TD Garden.
Here's our original post on snow storms and NHL games…
With Nemo starting to hit New England and expecting to dump around three feet of snow in Boston, fans are wondering if there'll be a game tomorrow. The short answer is 99% most likely. And it can be summed up in a couple of tweets from Jack Edwards:
— Jack Edwards (@RealJackEdwards) February 7, 2013
Once again, TBL has confirmed to us that Lightning is flying into Boston TONIGHT, so Stamkos & Co. will be rested & ready Sat 1PM on NESN.
— Jack Edwards (@RealJackEdwards) February 7, 2013
That second tweet was from yesterday, meaning the Lightning arrived in Boston last night when the skies were cloudy but not snowing.
But what about the fans!? Won't anyone think of the children!?
That's cute that you think the league gives a shit about the fans. Didn't you learn anything from the Lockout or have we all buried that incident aside, swept next to when the drunk creepy uncle got a little too "handsy" at the family party one year?
After the jump… we look at past blizzards and how they (didn't) affect the NHL…
Even if the league gave a rats ass about the fans, scheduling between Tampa and Boston isn't exactly jiving for a reschedule, per Sporting News:
Part of the reason for that is the lockout-condensed schedule. Tampa Bay only makes one more trip to Boston this season, on March 2. Both teams play two days before that, on Feb. 28, and three games in three nights is out of the question. Beyond that, the teams' off days and schedules don't line up with any obvious fix in sight.
The last high-profile blizzard game in the NHL was on Feb. 7, 2010, when the Pittsburgh Penguins played the Washington Capitals in DC in a Super Sunday matinee despite two feet of snow that closed airports in Northeast. Pittsburgh flew into Newark, N.J., from Montreal after their Saturday afternoon game against the Montreal Canadiens. The team then took a five-hour bus ride, arriving in Washington at 2:15 a.m. Washington won 5-4 in overtime.
Hey remember when it was warm.. and sunny… and there was no snow? Neither do we.
Recent history has also shown the league less than willing to cancel a game, especially if both teams are already in the city. In 2010, the Islanders requested to postpone their game against the Montreal Canadiens because of a storm. The League basically laughed in their faces:
It’s not particularly surprising that the league denied the Islanders’ request, but it certainly doesn’t reflect well on the league to put fans in potential danger having them travel to the game. The NFL postponed tonight’s game in Philadelphia between the Eagles and Vikings because of the snowstorm, but rescheduling an NFL game for two days later is easier than picking out an open date later on for two NHL teams. It makes sense that the NHL made the call they did, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right one.
And same deal with the Devils/Maple Leafs:
Throughout tonight’s game as the Devils dropped a 4-1 decision to the Maple Leafs, the snow piled up and the winds blew fiercely causing Newark Airport to shut down, New Jersey transit service in Newark to shutdown at 8:30 this evening, and a state of emergency declared in New Jersey because of the snow. If that sounds bad for the NHL, it does.
Tonight’s attendance at Prudential Center was announced as being 5,329 but as you can see from the photo above, that’s a pretty generous amount. Given what was going on outside the arena, was it right for the game to have even been played tonight? We’re thinking it wasn’t and for obvious reasons.
First off, the safety of the fans that did make it to the game is put in great danger. Because those tickets cost so much money, some fans feel pressured to go to the game so they don’t end up wasting that money spent. That leads to them either taking a bus, train, or driving to the game and then taking a chance with their safety or, as what happened tonight, losing a method of transportation home. Imagine what would happen should someone get in a serious car accident or end up stranded in Newark all because they didn’t call the game off. That makes for horrible publicity and something the NFL took very seriously in postponing Sunday night’s game in Philadelphia until Tuesday.
Another thing to keep in mind is the safety of the teams, notably the visiting Maple Leafs. The Leafs bus got stuck in the snow after the game on their way back to the hotel. The team’s flight out of New Jersey was canceled thanks to the weather. The Leafs play again on Tuesday back in Toronto so getting back home in time for that isn’t an issue. If they had a game tomorrow, however, that would’ve made for a major problem. The Devils don’t play again until Wednesday at home against the Rangers.
Of course, maybe the League looks at those past events and think "Ehhh, maybe we fucked up there." Then again, this is the NHL and don't think league officials are capable of admiting fault.
And this wouldn't be the Bruins first rodeo:
Bruins have played a few blizzard games over years. 4-3 win over Whale drew 4,761 on 3/29/84. 7,012 in house for 7-3 win vs. Habs on 1/22/87
— Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) February 7, 2013
What about delaying the game to say…. 7pm?
Not a bad idea, especially since the Boston Snow Emergency is going 'till sometime tomorrow afternoon. There's no Celtics game schedule for that night so there's no scheduling conflict there. There's also no concerts scheduled that night either. But it's not so simple as that as there's TV stations and their airing rights to deal with. NESN is slated to air tomorrow's game and at 7pm they have a college basketball game to air. Not that they wouldn't say "scre off, college ball" but it's probably not ideal for NESN either.
Post-poning NHL games is not as simple as delaying a Pee Wee game. NHL is big business, meaning there's tons of hoops to jump through. It's still not impossible and there's rumors moving about that the game may in fact get post-poned.
— Shawn Hutcheon (@ShawnHutcheon) February 8, 2013
Of course, City of Boston's website has been showing "Snow emergency" for a while now, so who knows. The team will put out some sort of notice once a decision is made, but at the moment it's still game on. We'd be surprised if the game doesn't happen but, like suspension hearings, you never know with the NHL.
Good news is the storm is driving ticket prices down. You can get get Legends Club seats for as low as $19 on AceTicket at the moment.
The National Hockey League and the Bruins are continuing to monitor the weather forecast for Saturday, February 9 in the greater Boston area, and will advise fans as soon as possible if there is any change to the Bruins game against the Tampa Bay Lightning scheduled for Saturday at 1:00 PM at the TD Garden.
S/T to Katie (@Bruins22) for the PHT links yesterday.