Pain In The Ice
The Blue Jackets arrived to quite a surprise this morning in Nationwide Arena, but the club says it's optimistic tonight's 7 p.m. game against the Anaheim Ducks can be played.
In order to prepare the ice for an NHL game after a five-day run of Disney On Ice, the ice surface needed to be shaved down so the Disney logos could be removed and the hockey markings (lines, hashmarks, dots, etc.) could be re-exposed, along with the neutral zone advertisements.
But a portion of the ice surface melted overnight after a hot-water flush under the rink somehow drained back onto the ice. It wasn't noticed until workers arrived this morning, and it drew quite a lot of interest.
President Mike Priest, GM Scott Howson, coach Scott Arniel and executive vice president of business operations Larry Hoepfner were all seen huddled by the Blue Jackets' bench before the club took a morning skate in the Dispatch Ice Haus. The Ducks were forced to skate there, too.
"We are aware (of ice issues in Columbus)," NHL deputy commissioner Billy Daly said. "We have not finalized contingency plans at this point and remain hopeful none will be necessary.
Here's an official statement from Blue Jackets vice president of public relations Todd Sharrock:
"The ice needed to be shaved down after the Disney even the last several days so the lines and advertisements could be restored. There's a pit underneath the floor where all the shavings go, and hot water is used to flush them out.
"Something happened where the hot water got out onto the ice surface and melted the ice. That was overnight last night, and it wasn't discovered until this morning. That's what they're fixing. They're optimistic it will get fixed and won’t affect the game tonight."
Sharrock declined to discuss contingency plans should the ice surface not be playable.