WASHINGTON — The ice was good, but it sure was sunny.
That’s how the Washington Capitals summed it up after skating late this morning at Nationals Park, in preparation for tomorrow’s Winter Classic.
Defenseman Mike Green talked about the “big time” glare coming off the outdoor surface that made things difficult compared to playing indoors.
“That was probably the hardest part about it,” said Green. “The reflection off the ice. But after five or 10 minutes, your eyes adjust and you can kind of cope with it.”
D-man Matt Niskanen concurred.
“The one angle, when you turned into the sun, it was tough to pick things up,” he said. “I can’t imagine if a puck goes off the glass and up into the air, it’d probably be really tough. But same for everybody I guess.”
Niskanen was asked if the sun had created any soft spots on the ice.
“A little bit,” he said. “Where the sun was beating down, right along the boards, just a little bit slushy.”
But other than a few problem spots, the ice was “really hard” and “fast.” In fact, Niskanen called it “the best ice I’ve skated on in a while.”
Add it all up, and considering the glare could be a player-safety concern, don’t be surprised if the reports are accurate and tomorrow’s game is indeed pushed back past its current start time of 1 p.m. ET.
“We want to drop the puck on time,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said today, per CSN Washington. “Worst case, if we have a delay, we anticipate it will be a short delay.”