BOSTON – The hot, humid weather in Boston is raising concerns about the ice conditions at TD Garden before Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final.
With temperatures forecasted to reach 33 degrees, Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks players expressed some concern about what it would be like when the puck is dropped Monday night.
“It’s pretty hot outside, and I’m kind of sweating right now,” Blackhawks forward Michael Frolik said. “The ice wasn’t great, but I guess it’s same for both teams. Hopefully it get a little bit better tonight.”
June 24 ties for the latest Cup final game in NHL history, and a potential Game 7 would set a new record.
“Everybody has been through it, and two teams are going through the same conditions,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “Both teams are going to tell you the same truth: keep the game simple and try and avoid those mistakes from over-handling pucks in those kind of ice conditions.”
Boston players had slightly better reviews of the ice after their morning skate, which happened before Chicago’s. Centre Chris Kelly said if it’s as good at night—when the temperature is expected to be 28 degrees—as it was in the morning, it would not negatively affect play.
“It was OK this morning,” defenceman Torrey Krug said. “I thought it was obviously better early on and the more it gets chewed up it kind of deteriorates. For us we’re not worried about it. Both teams have to play on the ice. It’s something you can’t focus on. You’ve just got to make sure you take care of the puck.”
Bruins centre David Krejci called the ice “kind of bumpy.” It could get worse as the day goes on.
“It’s obviously going to be choppy, but it’s going to be choppy for both teams,” Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw said. “I think we’ve just got to (be smart with) pucks, try not to make those pretty plays in the middle of the ice.”
The NHL is in charge of maintaining ice conditions during the Cup final, a Bruins spokesman said. A league spokeswoman said ice specialist Dan Craig was not doing interviews during the series.
Julien expects the heat in to rise as fans enter TD Garden on Monday night. Those who have attended morning skates at the arena all season observed that the building wasn’t as cold as it usually is.
Given how much the Blackhawks have excelled with their speed, a choppier surface might be advantageous to the Bruins. But Frolik and his teammates aren’t exactly going into foreign territory.
“I think we’re kind of used to bad ice. Chicago is not great ice, too,” he said. “Hopefully we get used to it very quick.”