NHL games have been postponed because of bad weather. But bad ice?
The Carolina Hurricanes’ game Monday against the Detroit Red Wings was not played after a problem with a PNC Arena cooling system caused the temperature of the ice to rise and making the ice surface unsuitable for play.
The NHL has a policy that a 22-hour window must exist between back-to-back games, and the Red Wings were scheduled to play a 7:30 p.m. road game Tuesday against Tampa Bay. With no chance of Monday’s game starting by 9:30 p.m., the decision was reached to postpone the game and look to reschedule it.
“I don’t remember any issue similar to this, so it’s certainly frustrating,” Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis said.
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Hurricanes president Don Waddell said that it was first discovered at 6 p.m. that a broken seal on the main compressor that operates the ice chiller was allowing freon to leak, causing the temperature of the ice to rise.
“The ice temperature got up to about 30 degrees and once we started chilling it, it was dropping, but at the rate it was dropping it would have been not until 9:45 (p.m.) before we were comfortable with players playing on it,” Waddell said. “The safety of the players is obviously first and foremost.”
Neither Waddell nor Francis could say when a replacement game can be scheduled, and Francis said it could be “extremely tough.”
The NHL schedule this season is condensed because of the World Cup of Hockey that was held before the season and a “bye week” that each NHL team must have between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28 — the Canes’ bye week is Feb. 12-16 and Detroit’s Feb. 22-27.
“It’s disappointing for both teams because we have to reschedule it,” Francis said. “It’s really disappointing for our fans, especially the people who were in the building tonight.”
Several updates were made to the fans in the arena before an announcement at 8:45 p.m. that the game had been postponed.
The decision was reached after Waddell, Francis and Wings general manager Ken Holland conferred with Colin Campbell, the NHL director of hockey operations.
Waddell said a ticket-exchange plan would be announced soon. Information on parking refunds also will be made, the Hurricanes said.
“I’ve never been a part of something like this,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “But the No. 1 concern has to be the safety of the players and the referees. It was determined we could not get the ice conditions to where they needed to be in time since we’re playing tomorrow as well.”
Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg put a positive spin on it, saying, “It’s just one of those things. We’ll get into Tampa a little earlier and there will be a morning skate instead of the optional. That’s the only difference (for Tuesday.)”
The Canes, 8-0-1 in their past nine home games, will play at Buffalo on Thursday, then host the Boston Bruins on Friday at PNC Arena.