The NHL has obviously run into Mother Nature issues on Saturday at Lake Tahoe with a lengthy delay due to the lack of cloud cover adversely affecting the ice conditions, and that will carry over to Sunday’s between the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers.
“We didn’t think it was safe and appropriate to continue the game at this time,” said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman during the NBC telecast, who indicated the game will resume at midnight eastern time based on the ice conditions. “We’ve done over 30 outdoor games, but this has been the most difficult conditions we’ve had to deal with.”
The NHL has announced that the Boston Bruins and Flyers will be pushed to late afternoon in California with a 730 pm puck drop Eastern Standard time on NBCSN rather than the mother ship NBC Network. It’s the fourth time change for the game as the league pushed things an hour back earlier in the week due to the same cloud cover issue, and then on Saturday they pushed it back twice to later in the afternoon.
There have been numerous examples of players, officials and everybody on the ice experiencing issues catching ruts on the soft ice, and it’s clearly being viewed as a safety issue for the players during the lengthy delay.
Ice causing some issues at Lake Tahoe. Players and refs getting caught in ruts pic.twitter.com/cUkTIpdyLm
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) February 20, 2021
Per an NHL press release, “the decision was made to change the start time of Honda NHL Outdoors Sunday between the Bruins and Flyers in the interest of Player safety due to Sunday’s forecast of sunlight with no cloud cover and unseasonably warm temperatures.”
The Bruins players weren’t allowed to practice at the outdoor rink on Saturday morning in preparation for the Sunday game due to the weather conditions, and Tuukka Rask even joked that he might don sunglasses given the difficulty for goaltenders picking up pucks off the sunny glare.
The move of the Lake Tahoe to later in the day on Sunday has also pushed the New Jersey Devils-Washington Capitals game to a 2 pm start time where it will be broadcast on NBC in place of the Bruins/Flyers outdoor game.