It’s hazy, hot and humid in Boston, which is usually perfect to describe a beach day on Cape Cod or an afternoon game at Fenway Park. But today, it’s also a perfect description of the potential ice conditions for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Bruins and Blackhawks.
Make no mistake, the ice usually plays a factor late in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But with temperatures in the low 90’s this afternoon, and lows in the lower 70s expected tonight, those ice conditions will be a bit choppy to say the least.
By now, both teams are prepared to face whatever conditions in front of them. But that doesn’t mean they appreciate it.
“It is pretty humid [out there],” said defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. “This morning was kind of rough, but you never know it could be great tonight. So we’ll see.”
“The ice is bad for both teams,” said Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw, the hero of the triple overtime affair in Game 1. “They’ve got to play on it as well. I think we’ve got to keep moving pucks north and be hard on the forecheck.”
Both teams rely on a physical forecheck, so on that end the ice conditions favor neither. But the Blackhawks also like to spread the open ice, which could lead to more guys falling down because of a lost edge. If that’s the case, the Bruins, who are more dependent on a physical style of hockey, can get the transition game going, much like they did in Game 3.
But the strategy remains the same for both teams: keeping the game simple.
“Those are conditions you have to play with at this time of year,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “Everybody has been through it, and the two teams are going through the same conditions. Both teams are going to tell you the same truth: keep the game simple and try to avoid those mistakes from overhandling pucks in those type of ice conditions.”
Regardless of the ice conditions, it’s the time of the year for the humidity in many parts of the country. Don’t believe me? Just ask Chris Kelly.
“It’s June…late June,” said the Toronto born forward. “You expect it. Even up in Canada it’ll still be warm. The ice is going to be bad. It’s going to be bad for both sides, and you expect that. The pretty plays may not always be there tonight because of the ice conditions.”
The two teams faced similar conditions in Game 3, and the Bruins came away with a 2-0 victory. The outcome – and the conditions – for Game 6 remains to be seen, but both squads are prepared for the worst.