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BOSTON (AP) — Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa thinks the ice at TD Garden might be better suited for snow cones than slap shots when the Canucks and the Boston Bruins play Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals.
Thanks to a Northeast heat wave, temperatures were expected to crack 90 degrees in downtown Boston on Wednesday.
The Canucks said the heat and humidity already had affected the ice at the pregame skate, turning it slushy and soft.
“The ice wasn’t very good at all,” Bieksa said. “The ice is very soft and chippy. It’s humid here. It can hurt you when you’re coming up the ice and assume the puck is flat on your stick, but it bounces away. We just have to be careful.”
The Canucks are among the NHL’s fastest teams, basing much of their offensive attack on speed and precision. Yet slushy ice is common all year in warmer climates or multi-use buildings, so Vancouver doesn’t expect any major limitations.
“We’ve been in Nashville during the playoffs, too, and it was the same or hotter,” Vancouver captain Henrik Sedin said. “We’re in the middle of June, so it’s going to be this way everywhere. I don’t think there’s many buildings with great ice right now.”
Boston coach Claude Julien disagreed, praising the Garden staff for their caretaking work.
“It looked really good,” Julien said. “They made some adjustments to this building. I think it’s been some great adjustments. The me, the ice looked really good. I think the guys were pretty pleased with it last game as well.”
According to the Bruins, this is nothing after playing three games in Tampa Bay’s St. Pete Times Forum during the Eastern Conference finals.
And it could be worse: The old Boston Garden didn’t have air conditioning, creating conditions better suited to a sauna in the spring and summer.
“We’ve experienced pretty bad ice before, so I think it’s something we can handle,” Boston center David Krejci said after the pregame skate. “I don’t know what it’s going to be like by the end of the game, but we can deal with it.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)