Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 10/08/08 at 11:12 PM ET
Earlier, Paul wrote about a scheduling problem in the City of Tampa. It seems that some professional baseball team from the Bay area is participating in some post-season tournament, and one of their games is scheduled for the same time as the Bolts home opener against Carolina on Saturday.
Under normal circumstances, the city would just cope with it, as Detroit did when both the Red Wings and Pistons were simultaneously playing home playoff games on the same night last summer. Or they might petition the league to move the start time of one or the other game. In this case, Carolina has veto power on bumping up the start time of the hockey game because they will be on the back end of a back-to-back, and the proposed start time of 5:00 would be just 19 hours after the end of Friday’s game. Carolina said “thanks but no thanks”, and certain people have been rubbed the wrong way.
Carolina is used to having grenades lobbed its way by the press from the Sunshine State, but this is getting really silly.
This Erik Erlendsson fellow seems to think that the Hurricanes are being needlessly selfish by declining Tampa’s request to move the start time from 7:30 to 5:00 to accommodate the folks who want to watch hockey and baseball without being forced to make a decision. While the Tampa sun may rise and set on that baseball game, the harsh reality is that nobody else cares. And the thing is, that isn’t even the point.
The point is that Carolina is playing a home game on Friday night, starting at 7:00. That game will end around 10, and they’ll most likely go directly to the airport, and get to Tampa at some point in the wee hours. Playing on the road as the back end of a back-to-back is already a big disadvantage. Playing against a team that has been sitting at home resting makes it an even bigger disadvantage. I don’t think there’s a team in the league who would, without incentive, put themselves at an even greater disadvantage by giving up two and a half hours of precious rest in that situation. And in a division game, no less!
What really gets me is that Erlendsson is taking a “oh, this is bad karma” route on this. He thinks that Carolina should put their exhausted players on the ice two hours early just to be more accommodating to the sports fans in Tampa. He’s under the impression that division rivals do each other favors all the time and that Carolina is in debt on this one:
As far as my feelings on that, well, at some point Carolina might be asking the Lightning for a similar favor and all I can say is, what comes around goes around. I know in the pasta (sic) Tampa Bay has been accommodating to changes to schedules having to turnaround and start a game with less than 24 hours before start times. Guess Carolina can count on not getting any help from Tampa Bay the next time.
Ooooooh. We’re real scared. The Lightning might not invite us to their fancy dress.
According to Luke Decock, there might be a little more to it than a lack of desire to play two games with so little turnaround time. He thinks that Carolina, and the other 28 teams in the league are never going to be in a hurry to do a favor for the Bolts. A couple of summers ago, they reconfigured the access between the visitor’s bench and the visitor’s locker room. I can’t say, because I’ve never been there, but I’m gonna have to trust Luke on this. and this is the strangest thing I’ve heard in some time:
In the summer of 2006, the Lightning added an ice-level club to their arena and closed off the tunnel that connected the visiting locker room to the visiting bench. It was a double-whammy for visiting teams, not only forcing them to walk about 100 yards to get to the ice while depriving them of in-game access to their dressing room but forcing them to walk through a bar full of possibly inebriated Lightning fans to get to the ice.
(I added boldface to the existing text for emphasis)
I think Luke might be spinning a little there. There’s no way in the world that the players have to physically walk through the bar to get to the ice. Is there? Maybe near the bar, or down a hallway shared by the bar, or down a tunnel that passes through the bar. I’ve never been to the St. Pete Forum, so I have no idea.
Anyway, the Canes turned down the request, and the Lightning have said that they understand, but apparently, some folks are getting bent out of shape.
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David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.