There were some line changes and some familiar faces at Boston Bruins practice today, even though the weather is starting to get pretty ugly in pretty much all of New England.
In slight tweaks to the forward lines, Tyler Seguin was with Milan Lucic and David Krejci again on the top line. Nathan Horton was with Patrice Bergeron and Rich Peverley on the second line. The third line featured Chris Bourque, Chris Kelly and Jamie Tardif. However, the merlot line looked just the way it always should look: Shawn Thornton, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille. Brad Marchand was back at practice, wearing white.
Both Thornton and Paille said that they were feeling good, but that they’re still waiting to hear from the higher-ups about whether or not they’re cleared to play again. Marchand, who had a little extra one-on-one time with the strength coach before practice started, is also considered a possibility to play again.
Coach Claude Julien cautioned that he’s not 100 percent sure about these lines yet, but practice is a good time to do some tweaking.
As for the winter storm Nemo, which not only has been found but is bearing down on New England, here’s the deal: as of right now, the Bruins are still planning on a 1 p.m. matinee start. The Tampa Bay Lightning flew into town last night after their game because the NHL policy is for visitors to be there at least the night before the game. However, the team will provide updates if need be and any official word on postponements would come from BostonBruins.com first.
On the other hand, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick just held a press conference to discuss vital information about the storm. A reporter asked him about the game and he suggested that the team should go ahead and postpone because a 1 p.m. start could be in the midst of the worst of the storm. A travel ban may still be in effect at that time, carrying fines or potential jail time if people are caught violating it. Gov. Patrick has already declared a state of emergency and ordered all cars off the road by 4 p.m. today. MBTA public transport will shut down at 3:30 p.m. today.
There have already been some other hockey games postponed around New England ahead of the storm: the Providence Bruins were set to face the Portland Pirates tonight, but will meet them on Monday instead. They were also slated to play the Manchester Monarchs on Saturday, but now that’s going to be Tuesday. Eight different Hockey East college games to be played throughout New England have been rescheduled, including games set to be played at Boston College and Boston University.
That being said, NHL games have been played in very less-than-ideal weather conditions before. There was one game between the New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames in January 1987 where only 334 spectators actually made it to the arena because about two feet of snow had fallen. Some of the Devils players even walked through the snow to the arena or drove backwards on the highway just to get there.
So really, in the case of the Bruins game tomorrow, take a wait-and-see approach. It’s still early in the day.
UPDATE: The start time for the Bruins-Lightning game has been moved to 7 p.m. on Feb. 9.