The Oklahoma City Barons were slated to take on the Grand Rapids Griffins in Game 4 of the AHL Western Conference Finals on Friday, under a severe tornado threat... and they would have played it too, had the arena not sprung a leak. The entire eastern portion of the arena was being flooded by water, including the home locker room, making the game unplayable.
The game will be made up on Sunday afternoon at 4pm, after crews get everything cleaned up and back in a workable condition. Barons' coach Todd Nelson had the quote of the night, however. "This is my first rainout in professional hockey." [NewsOK.com]
Much of the crowd had to be rushed into the underground parking garages for shelter. Among those in attendance were former Detroit Red Wings, and current scouts, Chris Osgood and Kris Draper.
"They didn't hesitate to take us downstairs right away," Draper said. "When the locals are taking it serious you go right downstairs." [WXYZ]
Closer to home, Seth Jones is helping the Metroplex lay claim to his rising star. On his recent blog at NHL.com, Jones describes the alien autopsy that is the NHL Draft Combine. The Plano, Texas native, who is often described as a Denver hockey prodigy, said he plans to return home to Dallas to relax and wait for the upcoming draft. Take that, Colorado. [NHL.com]
Valeri Nichushkin is quickly rising on draft boards across the country, as he continues to reiterate his dedication to North American hockey, and his NHL career. The Toronto Sun recently wrote a piece on the big Russian, and his chances of dethroning Jonathan Drouin in the draft's top three. Whoever ends up with this kid is going to be very happy they did. [Toronto Sun]
It's good to see Raffi Torres of the San Jose Sharks is repentant in the wake of his season-ending suspension for his headshot on Jarret Stoll. In a recent interview, Torres said that not only does he see nothing wrong with his hit, but that he plans to do it again if given the opportunity. This young man is a PR nightmare. [The Score]
If you live in the Pittsburgh area, and you're a fan of delicious American spirits, you might want to stock up before the puck drops this evening. A local bar in Pittsburgh has decided to boycott Samuel Adams beer for the remainder of the Eastern Conference Finals, as a show of solidarity against all things Boston. At least they've still got ketchup, am I right? [Days of Y'Orr]
Yesterday, I mentioned that Mark Messier was in the running for the vacant coaching position behind the New York Rangers bench. He's not alone. Former Ranger, Messier-teammate, and all around legend, Wayne Gretzky is interested in the job as well. Gretzky, formerly coach of the Phoenix Coyotes, ended his playing career in New York in 1999. [NHL.com]
Today, to get you ready for the opening shots of both Conference Finals series, I present you with NHL.com's trailers for both the Eastern and Western Conference finals. Enjoy.