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The New York Post
Part of the intrigue of playing NHL games outdoors is having to factor in the weather, but not quite like this.
With bad ice and a detrimental delay because of glare from the sun, the Rangers 7-3 win over the Devils at Yankee Stadium on Sunday afternoon had a little bit of a sour aftertaste.
Slated to start at 1:02 p.m., the puck didn't drop until 1:41 p.m., the sun reflecting off the ice to create a situation the league said would have jeopardized player safety.
"There's no way we could have played," said Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, who then went on to have some choice words about the ice surface itself.
"It was so bright, and even for the quality of the ice - even though it was the worst ice I've ever played hockey on - you went from the shadow to the sun, it was almost a 10-degree difference. It was unbelievable."
A delay of an outdoor game because of weather isn't entirely uncommon - the 2012 Winter Classic between the Rangers and Flyers in Philadelphia was delayed almost two hours because of the same sun-glare situation, and rain forced the 2011 game in Pittsburgh to be moved from a 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. start. Yet this one adversely affected Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who was given a bad estimation for the delay time.
"They told us probably warm-ups are around 2:00, 2:30, so I went to sleep," said Lundqvist, who gave up three goals on the first six shots he faced. "Then they came and told me warm-ups are in 30 minutes. So, yeah, I was half asleep. Mentally I was somewhere else, so I had to regroup a little bit."
The ice itself was shockingly bad, with the officiating crew often having to stop and fix holes with surrounding snow.
"The only thing that I found surprising was the quality of the ice," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said.
"You'd think that a day like this where it's below zero Celsius, so below 32 Fahrenheit, that you're talking about ideal conditions. You should be able to get ice and they had issues with the ice."
It was also very cold, the game-time temperature recorded at 24.9 degrees Fahrenheit, the second coldest for an American NHL outdoor game behind just this year's Winter Classic in Ann Arbor, Mich., where it was a snowy 13 degrees.
"As it went on, it was worse and worse," Brodeur said of the ice. "It was tough - it was so cold out there."