The X-factor between the Blackhawks and the Oilers isn’t a player
There’s a constant feature plaguing the series between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Edmonton Oilers, and that’s the ice.
With two late starts in Edmonton, it was obvious the Chicago Blackhawks were going to have to plan for ice conditions as well as the dynamic duo and of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
Watching the games, it’s clear the ice isn’t in the best shape. Several games a day are being played in Edmonton’s Rogers Place, and the effect makes for some awkward in-game moments.
How many times are the announcers making a call where the puck is bouncing, or a player is having trouble controlling it?
How many times did players like Toews or Kubalik flub a shot that seemed like it had been served up to them on a platter? How many times have the players appear as if they couldn’t stay on their feet?
The inevitable fallout for poor ice quality is that the games become even less predictable, and for Chicago that has to be something that they keep in mind as the series continues. After three games, it’s obvious that strategies may need to be changed.
Slow things down? Shorter passes?
To be fair, this is a problem all across the NHL right now. With multiple games being played every day in just two stadiums a situation like was inevitable. In fact, this was an issue that was discussed as far back as March. TSN interviewed an ice technician for the Carolina Hurricanes, Jared Dupre.
During the short interview, Dupre basically explains that hockey in the summer is very much an unknown and that there will be an impact.
It’s already having an adverse impact on the series between Edmonton and Chicago. The late starts don’t help things, but the hot weather is going to push the limits of the technicians responsible for the rinks.
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At this point, time is of the essence, and changing things up to adjust for the ice will help, the Blackhawks will need to do it. It’s just one more thing making this year’s postseason that much more challenging.