NHL Playoffs, Flyers v. Canadiens: Flyers get through mysterious skate issues

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Thankfully the Philadelphia Flyers won this game. If they had not,
then the uproar  would be incredible and there’s no telling what the
ramifications might be.

The Flyers were forced to continuously
deal skate-sharpening issues during the game today against the
Canadiens, as it was reported that some sort of sand-like substance was
wreaking havoc with the skate blades of a number of Flyers players
throughout the game. From Frank Seravalli of Philldelphia Daily News:

“We
had skate issues, that’s for sure,” coach Peter Laviolette
said. “You know, we lost [Mike] Richards
three times, Kimmo [Timonen] two
times, and I don’t know.

“I’m not familiar with the rumors, but we certainly had some skate
issues.”

Those “rumors”, first reported by NBC’s Pierre McGuire,
was that some some sort of substance had been spilled on the rubber mats
that players walk on from the locker room to the benches, which was
causing all sorts of problems with their skates not only being sharp but
having gouges nearly destroying the blades the blades as well.

The
Flyers didn’t exactly blame any sort of tampering or sabotage for the
sand ending up on the rubber mats, although according to Seravalli one
player did admit there was a substance on the mats that caused these
issues.

For those unfamiliar, any sort of sand or sand-like
substance is kryptonite for the sharpness of skates and for such a
highly skilled sport as hockey having your skates as sharp and in as
good condition as possible is tantamount for success on the ice. Yet the
Flyers lost players all throughout the game to have their skates
repaired, and likely had them ruined once more walking back out of the
locker room and to the bench as no one discovered the substance until
later in the game.

Eventually, towels were laid across the mats to
prevent further damage.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard of an issue like this affecting the on-ice play of a road team this seriously. I It’s unlikely that the ‘substance’ just randomly appeared on the mats and no one caught the problem, especially when the players had to repeatedly go back for skate repairs throughout the game.

I doubt anyone on the Canadiens or the
Canadiens staff did something to cause these issues, although I can
certainly imagine an overzealous and insanely loyal Bell Centre employee
‘spilling’ something on the mats and ‘forgetting’ to properly clean up
the mess.