With the 2011 Winter Classic being delayed until 8:00 pm on New Year’s Day thanks to bad weather during the afternoon, the questions now turn to what happens if the weather turns bad during the game itself. The NHL is prepared with solutions for how to ensure that a game that’s started gets a proper outcome. Whether or not fans find those outcomes to be proper will be up for debate.
According to the NHL, once a game has begun it may be subjected to one or more temporary stoppages due to unplayable weather conditions. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has the final say as to whether or not the game is held up. Commissioner Bettman can also reconfigure the period and game format as needed. Teams changing ends at the 10:00 minute mark of the third period to make things fairer for both teams should the conditions dictate isn’t unfounded. Doing this allows for both teams to see the same amount of time overall on each end of the ice.
Where things get interesting is if the game is started and then stopped permanently because of the weather. If two periods have been played, the game is technically official. If one team is ahead, they’ll earn the win and get two points. If the game is tied, however, each team will get a point and then conduct a shootout to decide the winner. There won’t be an overtime period in this situation.
If the weather is so bad that even a shootout is considered too dangerous to do, then they’ll conduct the shootout on Feb. 6 prior to the start of the Pens-Caps game at Verizon Center in Washington. I can’t imagine this would cause too much of an uproar for Penguins fans to lose the home ice advantage.
Of course, if the game is started and permanently stopped before the second period is over, the game will be “postponed” and, if at all possible, be played on January 2nd in its entirety. Fantasy hockey teams could get ruined pretty hard if it turns into a goal fest early on only to have it postponed. It’s a special set of circumstances, but if you’re thinking the NHL isn’t prepared for this – think again.
For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”
They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:
- Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
- This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
- By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.
Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).
Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.
Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.
The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.
(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)
Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)
You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:
It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.
Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:
Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).
If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.
You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.
The pain goes beyond that … literally so.
For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.
(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)
The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.
Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.
It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.
The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).
The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.
One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.