How Bruins have handled uncertainty, schedule changes in Lake Tahoe


It’s been an interesting weekend for the NHL and the Bruins in Lake Tahoe. All the excitement and marveling at the gorgeous setting for the pair of outdoor games gave way to frustration and disappointment on Saturday, as the bright sun wreaked havoc on the ice.

Saturday’s Colorado-Vegas game, which began at noon local time/3 p.m. eastern, was postponed after the first period due to the poor ice quality and finished at 9 p.m. PT/midnight ET. Sunday’s Bruins-Flyers game, which had initially been moved up an hour to 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET was moved again and will now be played at 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET Sunday night.

The good news is that once the sun did go down, the ice was great for the rest of the Avalanche-Golden Knights game, which Colorado won 3-2. With the sun expected to set at 5:44 p.m. local time on Sunday, the Bruins and Flyers won’t have to deal with nearly as much sunlight and will play more than half the game after it goes down.

The bad news is that even with the later start, the Bruins still won’t have any opportunity to skate on the rink before hitting the ice for pregame warmups. They were initially scheduled to have a practice on the rink Saturday morning, but that was moved to a local indoor rink so the game-day crew could continue to work on the ice.

They were hoping there might be a chance to skate on it Sunday morning now, but that didn’t happen either, as the league wants to devote as much time as possible to just making sure it’s ready for the game.

So, how have the Bruins been dealing with all the uncertainty and changes? Coach Bruce Cassidy said on Sunday that they’ve just had to roll with all of it, and that the team still had a productive day on Saturday and has still enjoyed seeing the Tahoe area.

“Donny [Sweeney] and I went over to the rink yesterday at 9 [a.m.] and it looked great,” Cassidy said. “There was a little bit of snow. It looked like it was going to be a great day for outdoor hockey. People were still busy trying to get ready and you could almost sense the buzz. And then all of a sudden the sun comes out, it’s a beautiful day, we’re walking around, and you hear that it’s postponed, pushed back.

“What are they gonna do? How does that affect us? Are we gonna get to skate on the ice in the morning after the night game? At first we thought we may be able to, but it turned out they had to do work on it. We understand all that. The most important thing is the games. So you just kind of roll with it. There’s no other way to do it.

“We had a good practice at an indoor rink yesterday, addressed some things we hope we can do better, we need to do better, that we haven’t done better the last three or four times out. I thought it was a productive day in that regard. Still a beautiful part of the country here. Get out, walk around in your down time. But I think everyone’s looking forward to playing. That’s what we came here for. Hopefully the weather agrees with us -- so far, so good today -- and we get out there and have a good performance.”