Saturday's outdoor game set at Lake Tahoe between the Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche was
delayed because of brutal ice conditions caused by outdoor hockey's true arch nemesis, the sun.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman made the decision following the opening frame after several players and officials bailed on choppy patches on the ice. The big, bright Lake Tahoe sun made it nearly impossible to keep the surface anywhere near manageable as maintenance workers tried over and over again to patch holes and smooth out the ice.
— ike (@ikepennstate) February 20, 2021
The game resume more than nine hours later under the picturesque lights at Lake Tahoe, where Nathan MacKinnon's dazzling second-period goal and assist held up as the difference in a 3-2 marathon win for the Avalanche.
Nathan MacKinnon outdoor goal is beautiful pic.twitter.com/LhWYX2ucNR
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) February 21, 2021
Earlier in the day, league officials met with the captains and league officials to discuss the conditions, according to the Associated Press, and it was determined that the game would be delayed as rink workers put the protective cover back on the ice surface.
Bettman then hopped on TV to announce the game would be delayed until, uh, midnight ET for some reason.
— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) February 20, 2021
"The plan is simply that we concluded after consulting with our ice makers and both teams that we didn't think it was safe or appropriate to continue this game at this time. Some of the players wanted to continue playing, other players were more concerned. And I felt, as did the players association and everybody in hockey operations and most importantly the icemakers, the most prudent thing to do was to discontinue the game now, but we're going to pick it up at nine tonight local time," Bettman said.
The commissioner added that this the most difficult weather circumstance the NHL has faced after staging more than 30-plus outdoor games.
The league's American broadcasting partner, NBC, was adamant that there was really no way the NHL could have prepared for this. I'd usually be the first to find a lot of humor in this type of sentiment coming from this league, as it really writes itself, but I'm not so sure about this one.
Aside from a scheduling shift to hold all the games at night, which would for the most part kill the scenic sell of the event, what exactly was the league supposed to do aside from bust out one of those Mr. Burns sun blocker machines from The Simpsons?
Really could've used one of those bad boys, actually. Could this be Zamboni's next product pivot?