An outdoor skating rink set in a magical panorama of Lake Tahoe with, as a bonus, a blazing sun: all the conditions seemed met for the return of the Nordiques, the moment of a match. But that was on paper.
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Ice rink attendants were quick to install protective covers on the rink after the first period.
After a period between the Colorado Avalanche – dressed in the colors of the Fleurdelisés – and the Vegas Golden Knights on the outdoor rink at the Edgewood Tahoe Resort in Stateline, on the shores of Lake Tahoe, the NHL was forced to put the encounter on pause due to poor ice quality.
The mercury read -3 ° C, but the rays of the sun greatly complicated the task of the players who, especially at the end of the first period, seemed particularly bothered by the numerous cracks in the ice.
After the first period was over, with the Avalanche ahead 1-0, the NHL made the decision to extend the intermission to ensure it was safe for the players to return to the action.
After a break of nearly 90 minutes, Commissioner Gary Bettman finally announced over the microphone of the NBC network that the meeting was postponed and that the last two periods would be played from midnight Eastern Time (9 p.m. at Lake Tahoe). .
“We played more than 30 games and we never had this kind of problem. We played in the rain, we played in the snow. However, the sun’s rays have always been our worst enemy. We have already delayed games because the reflections of the sun were too strong on the ice. Also, we’re over 6,000 feet above sea level so that didn’t help. Despite everyone’s good intentions, we think we are making the right decision, ”he said.
According to NHL rules, it would have been necessary to have played at least two periods for the game to count in the standings.
Moreover, as soon as the first intermission was extended, the NHL announced that the meeting between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Boston Bruins at Lake Tahoe would be played at 7:30 p.m. Sunday night rather than 2 p.m., as initially scheduled.
The Avalanche and Golden Knights players wore unique jerseys for the occasion on Saturday, the Avalanche jersey being designed in the image of the old Quebec Nordiques jersey.
Mother Nature may have been a spoiler, but the fact remains that a team wore a jersey featuring the Nordiques logo to an NHL game for the first time since the team left. in 1995.
Samuel Girard had been the only scorer in the first period before the weather forced the NHL to postpone the remainder of the game until late in the evening.
And who better than a Quebecer to open the brand for the Avalanche with the Nordiques logo! From the third minute of play, Samuel Girard directed a close to the ice which thwarted Marc-André Fleury between the pads. The presence of the defender of Roberval was however uncertain for the meeting on Saturday, he who had missed the last two games of his team because of the protocol of COVID-19.
For history buffs, he was the first Quebecer to score a goal in the NHL with a Nordiques jersey since Sylvain Lefebvre. The latter scored the Fleurdelized’s fourth goal in a 4-1 victory over the Hartford Whalers in the last game of the 1994-1995 regular season.
Since the game resumed after the deadline, it was however impossible for us to tell you if Gabriel Landeskog had become the first Swede to score with a Nordiques jersey since Peter Forsberg on May 16, 1995, or Valeri Nichushkin. the first Russian to thread the needle since Andrei Kovalenko on the 1ster May of the same year.
That is Mother Nature’s fault.