The finish to the NHL Outdoors blockbuster played in front of the breath-taking Lake Tahoe back-drop had to be postponed on Sunday (AEDT) following a dramatic meltdown.
The match between the Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche was postponed nearly eight hours due to player safety issues.
The contest was halted after the first period with the Avalanche ahead 1-0 after sunshine melted the ice to cause poor skating conditions and too great a risk of injury.
“We concluded after consulting with our icemakers and both teams that we didn’t think it was safe and appropriate to continue playing this game at this time,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said.
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The second period start was pushed back nearly eight hours to 9pm local time and didn’t get underway until midnight on the east coast of the United States.
A special rink was assembled on the 18th hole of a lakeside golf course to create the unique atmosphere with mountains in the background and boaters watching on the water a short walk away but no spectators on site due to COVID-19.
Images of the scene left the sporting world in awe.
The match-up was the first of a double-header that concludes on Monday (AEDT) with the Boston Bruins facing the Philadelphia Flyers.
“We’ve done more than 30 outdoor games. This has been the most difficult weather circumstance we’ve had and it’s a beautiful day,” said Bettman.
“We knew unabated sunshine was a problem.” Bettman said players were divided over returning to play as planned or waiting. “You’ve got to do the prudent thing,” he said. “We’re all disappointed. You can’t have success if you don’t risk failure.” Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, a Swedish left winger, said Colorado was ready to keep going but it was probably wiser to wait and resume under the lights.
“That first period was the way it was but some places were slushy,” he said. “We were ready to go out. We wanted to go out, but it’s probably for the best.
“We’ll take it in stride and try to pick up where we left off. It’ll be one to remember for sure.” Colorado played in “throwback” uniforms featuring the logo of the Quebec Nordiques, the identity of the club before it moved from Canada to Denver in 1995.
Two outdoor games originally planned for 2021 were scrapped because of the pandemic. St. Louis was to have played Minnesota at Target Field baseball park in Minneapolis on January 1 and the Carolina Hurricanes were to have hosted a game at a college football stadium on Sunday.
Pittsburgh Penguins photoshop fail, coronavirus, mask rules, online backlash
American ice hockey team the Pittsburgh Penguins sparked online backlash this week after a social media staffer photoshopped face masks onto fans in a photo taken during the side’s first home game in front of spectators since last March.
“We just had to say this again … thanks for the continued support, Penguins fans,” the team’s official Twitter account posted alongside an image showing all fans properly wearing face coverings. “We can’t wait to see you tomorrow night.”
The NHL franchise had returned to PPG Paints Arena to face the Philadelphia Flyers en route to a 5-2 win. Just 2800 people were allowed inside to watch the action and a zero-tolerance mask policy was in place.
It was the Penguins’ first home game in front of fans since March 2, 2020, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
But some eagle-eyed Twitter users noticed something was amiss. In the original photo, taken by Jeanine Leech of Getty Images, a female fan wearing her mask incorrectly is seen in the top-right corner, while two others didn’t have their faces properly covered.
The woman’s mask was down below her mouth, while another man’s mask wasn’t covering his nose.
One critic quickly called out the seemingly doctored image as “terrible BS” from the team.
“Either enforce the rules or don’t, but don’t lie to us either,” the tweet read. “P*** poor jobs Pens.”
Another critic admitted “growing pains” with the mask policy was expected considering it was the first home game with spectators — but still said the team should “do better”.
Meanwhile, another person joked that the team’s account appeared to be operated by an “actual penguin”.
“Photoshop is hard with no fingers,” the reply read.
In a statement to The New York Post, the team acknowledged that a social media staffer sent out the “altered” photo and has since been reprimanded.
“We are excited to have our fans back to PPG Paints Arena, and following the advice of medical professionals, we are taking all precautions to enforce the use of masks to keep our fans safe,” the statement read.
“We have adopted a zero-tolerance policy, and our arena staff having roving teams to enforce during home games.”
The team said the “perhaps well-intended” staffer, however, should not have manipulated the wide crowd photo of “a few fans” who weren’t following the rules.
“Our social media team should never send out altered photos to our fan base,” the statement continued. “This is a violation of our social media and safety policy, and this staffer has been disciplined.”
Fans were allowed back into the arena after Governor Tom Wolf raised capacity at indoor venues to 15 per cent, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
“We’re grateful for the loyalty that our fans showed during this difficult time,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said.
“We feel like we have some of the most loyal fans in sports. These guys have been so supportive of our players over the years. I know the players are appreciative of that.”
This story first appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission
Ice Hockey news, NHL, fight, video, New York Rangers vs Washington Capitals, why, pictures
The Rangers’ measure of revenge came courtesy of their fists and not the scoreboard on Wednesday.
In the 4-2 loss to the Capitals, which came two days after Tom Wilson cheap-shotted his way against the Blueshirts, the teams took part in a wild rematch at the Garden that included six first-period fights and totalled 141 penalty minutes.
Wilson and his teammates were forced to answer for his punching of a defenceless Pavel Buchnevich and throwing Artemi Panarin to the ice on Monday, which resulted in Wilson receiving just a $5,000 fine from the NHL.
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“I definitely think we felt the need to take matters into our own hands a little bit,” Rangers coach David Quinn said.
Washington not only willingly engaged, but took home the victory, thanks to T.J. Oshie’s hat trick.
Rangers rookie Morgan Barron notched his first NHL goal in the loss, with defenseman Zac Jones netting his second big-league helper on the play in the waning minutes of the third.
Alexis Lafreniere scored the other goal for New York.
this article was originally published by the New York Post and reproduced with permission.
Vegas Golden Knights Ryan Reave banned for pulling out chunk of hair, Colorado Avalanche’s Ryan Graves
Vegas Golden Knights tough guy Ryan Reaves has been slapped with a two-game ban after he pulled out a “chunk” of the hair of Colorado Avalanche player Ryan Graves during Sunday’s NHL playoff match in Colorado.
Reaves, who has been suspended numerous times during his NHL career, was given a match penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct on the play, which occurred halfway through the third period of Colorado’s 7-1 game one victory.
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“During this scrum both the officials and Reaves acknowledge that a chunk of Graves’ hair was pulled out by Reaves,” the league’s Department of Safety said in a video statement.
Reaves also punched Graves in the back of the head and took him aggressively down to the ice. His actions sparked a fracas at the side of the net and led to a nine-minute Colorado powerplay.
Graves remained on the ice for several minutes before heading to the locker room.
In 686 career games, Reaves has 49 goals and 937 minutes in penalties while playing with St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Las Vegas.
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