Like the rest of the NHL, the Bruins remain iced out, their business at a standstill now for nearly two weeks amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, at TD Garden, the ice is literally out.
The building’s Bull Gang crew shut down the ice plant last week, and the ice sheet, measuring 85 feet by 200 feet, went down the drain.
We await to see whether the remainder of the 2019-20 season, and the playoffs, go with it.
The screen-like stencils that underlay the ice, including the large sheets that form the trademark center-ice Spoked B, were stored on the Garden’s third floor— not far from the pallets of iconic pine flooring used by the Celtics.
“Too expensive to keep the ice plant going, obviously,” one experienced Garden hand noted Tuesday morning, just hours before the commonwealth’s stay-at-home advisory took effect. “If the season’s salvaged, those guys can freeze in a new sheet in a day or two — no big deal.”
The Bruins last played at the Garden March 7, a 5-3 loss to the Lightning, and have not been seen on any ice since their 2-0 win in Philadelphia March 10. The 31-team NHL went dark March 12, less than 24 hours after the NBA became the first major North American sports league to halt play.
The NHL Board of Governors and general managers had a conference call scheduled for later in the day Tuesday. They’ll be discussing a number of contingencies in regard to how to proceed, or whether to proceed, with the remainder of the regular season and/or the playoffs.
Manufacturing and maintaining quality ice throughout the summer no doubt will be on the agenda. With rising temperatures throughout North America, many of the NHL’s arenas, including the one on Causeway Street, will find it a challenge to produce and then groom a quality sheet.
The Bruins have played in three Stanley Cup Finals (2011, ’13, and ’19) in their time in TD Garden, and maintaining quality ice through May and into June was an issue each time.
Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.