On Friday night at Prudential Center with 9:12 left in the second period and Tampa leading New Jersey 3-0, a portion of the arena lights went dark, leaving one half of the ice less lit than the other half. That was at 8:18 pm; an announcement was made shortly after that they were trying to solve the problem, but the next announcement didn’t come until 10:07 when the PA announcer said that the game was postponed and will be completed at a later date.
The Devils out-shot the Lightning 20-7 until the lighting failed, but it was Tampa who led by three goals scored by Steve Downie, Brandon Bochenski and Steven Stamkos.
The players were not made available to the print media afterwards but coach Devils coach Jacques Lemaire and GM Lou Lamoriello both spoke after the game; here is what they had to say after one of the most bizarre nights in the three seasons that the team has been in Newark:
Have you ever experienced anything like this?
“Never, never; the thing is if we don’t have, I looked and we all looked at the ice the way it is right now with the lighting that we have, to me (and to all of us) it would be dangerous to keep playing like this.”
What was the explanation that you were given?
“None, myself I don’t know exactly; Lou will try to explain after I’m done.”
Are you saying that unless either team needs the points this game won’t be completed?
“Lou will answer that question, any questions about the game?”
Not a great start to the second half of the season…
“I thought we, well goal-wise it wasn’t a good start, but I thought it was a great start the way we played. We didn’t allow a lot of chances, a lot of shots; and we had quite a few, we came close numerous times to get a goal, get back in the game and this is exactly what we needed to get a goal. I felt that we were playing really well.”
It was getting late; did you want to restart no matter how late it was?
“There was a time limit; they’re playing tomorrow (in Philadelphia) which is an important game for them. We’re playing tomorrow (in Montreal) which is another important game, so we didn’t want, myself I didn’t want this game to go on until midnight and then get into Montréal at 3 am and play tomorrow. So I guess this game will be played if any team needs it.”
Has this ever happened to you before?
“No, never. But I’m not an electrician (smiles).”
“First of all, what happened was a circuit breaker went down. We found which one it was, and then they could not get the computer to work with the circuit breaker and PSE&G has been here and they determined a short period of time ago that they will not get this fixed tonight so the game was called. We have been in constant contact with the league. The officials as you saw went out and looked to see if when they put the LED boards on if there was enough light to play, but it was too risky. One end zone there was too many shadows and safety has to come first in a situation like this. As far as the details for this game being rescheduled, what the particulars will be as far as where it will begin being played, I do not have any of those. They have not been transmitted to me, nor to my understanding have they been discussed.”
Was there a specific league rule about what to do when something happens like this?
“I do not have the rule, I think it will be determined by certainly by hockey operations and the only situation that I’m aware of is when the young man got hurt in Detroit and what they did at that time. But that was in the first period, where I believe they left the score the way it was and just started the game over again; I think Nashville was ahead 1-0 at that time. I’m not saying that that is what will transpire here, we’re in the second period and I really don’t have any answer right now.”
Were you talking to the commissioner at all?
“I was talking to Colin Campbell. I did not ask any of those questions right now; it was more when do we decide that this game is canceled. We were communicating with them and the officials and trying to get the word to the fans and the media as quick as we can; and also to our players. Both teams have games tomorrow night, we have flights, so things had to be rescheduled.”
Is it your understanding that it’s possible the game will not be replayed?
“No, I don’t even have that answer. I believe it will be replayed, because of how it affects other people, it affects standings, and it affects points. But the details of what the decision is, of when and how, I do not have the answer to that.”
Would it have to be replayed in New Jersey?
“I would assume so, but I don’t want to assume anything. This is our last game with Tampa so…”
But you will be in Florida…
“I would be awfully surprised if it’s not played in the venue it was scheduled to be played in.”
Did you guys discuss at all finishing the game in the practice rink?
Was there an agreement from both sides that the game should be stopped?
“I don’t want to get into any of those discussions. That is the decision of the officials on the ice as far as the lights.”
In all of your years at Providence and in the NHL, anything like this ever happen?
“No, this is my first experience with this happening at this time during the game. We’ve had a couple of isolated situations prior to a game, but not during a game.”
When were the players told that there would be no more game?
“As soon as you people were told. They were sitting in the locker room, they were undressed, most of them, drying off because there was going to be a warm up once the game started. We made new ice hoping that they would get the lights on, but the players could not go out there cold; that was decided that that would take place. So there was constant communication between both teams, the league and the officials.”
Once in a lifetime event right?
“I hope so.”
Did the commissioner make the final call on this?
“The league has to make the call on this. But I don’t think that it’s a case of where a decision had to be made, I think the commissioner and the league waited as long as they possibly could. Once they decided they could not get this fixed in a reasonable period of time — when I say reasonable period of time, I mean hours — we did wait 90 minutes by the way. I think once you go that period of time and they’re still in the same place they were when they started in the first minute, it’s not a good chance of getting done. But I’m not an electrician. I only know what I’m being told.”
Is this like 4 and a half innings or can the fans go to another game if they have the ticket stub?
“Well that’s going to be decided. That has not been discussed and will be on newjerseydevils.com, once we know exactly what the status is of this game.”
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