Air Canada Centre ice ‘was brutal,’ says James van Riemsdyk after OT loss

AP
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James van Riemsdyk has already voiced his criticism of ice conditions in the NHL, including at the Air Canada Centre, this season. And he did so again Saturday.

The Toronto Maple Leafs forward had a breakaway during a thrilling three-on-three overtime session with the Chicago Blackhawks but was unable to score on the opportunity, which would’ve given the home team a crucial victory in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Instead, the Maple Leafs lost late in overtime, gaining a single point, which is still important for them. Afterward, van Riemsdyk didn’t mince words about conditions at the ACC.

“The ice was brutal so I was just trying to do something where the puck wouldn’t hop on me,” said van Riemsdyk, per The Canadian Press.

He isn’t the only player to speak out about ice conditions in various NHL rinks this season. Bad ice forced the postponement of a Red Wings-Hurricanes game. Cal Clutterbuck previously called the ice surface at Barclays Center “unplayable” after a game against the Arizona Coyotes.

And keep in mind, players have reportedly been asked this season to fill out surveys reviewing ice conditions, which is used to help the league improve the quality of its playing surfaces.