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NHL refused Islanders request to postpone tonight’s game because of blizzard

Dec 26, 2010, 7:36 PM EDT

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Anaheim Ducks v New York Islanders

With the northeast part of the country being hammered by a winter storm and blizzard-like conditions a couple of tonight’s games were put directly in danger because of the weather. Games in New Jersey and Long Island are being affected by the weather and the Islanders sought to get their game against the Montreal Canadiens postponed for the sake of fan safety.

With both teams already in Long Island and ready to play, the NHL thought differently on things and rejected the team’s request. Katie Strang of New York Newsday has the details.

Chief Deputy County Executive Rob Walker told Newsday that he discussed the situation with NHL executive Colin Campbell and advised the league disciplinarian to postpone the game.

“The most important thing for us is to ensure that roads are passable for public safety. We asked Nassau County residents to stay home unless it was an emergency. To have people out of their homes at 7 p.m. didn’t feel prudent at this time,” Walker said. “[Campbell] said he understood the issues and would have to discuss the situation with [NHL commissioner Gary Bettman].”

Traditionally the league decides to postpone a game based on the recommendation of the home team, but decided otherwise Sunday.

Although they declined to comment for this story, it is believed the league made it’s ruling because both teams arrived safely and were available to play and because no State of Emergency was declared for Nassau County.

It’s not particularly surprising that the league denied the Islanders’ request, but it certainly doesn’t reflect well on the league to put fans in potential danger having them travel to the game. The NFL postponed tonight’s game in Philadelphia between the Eagles and Vikings because of the snowstorm, but rescheduling an NFL game for two days later is easier than picking out an open date later on for two NHL teams. It makes sense that the NHL made the call they did, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right one.

Fortunately, most fans are staying away from the game to be safe anyhow and the Isles are at least making good on their tickets for fans that missed out. The Islanders are giving fans that had tickets to tonight’s game the opportunity to exchange their tickets from tonight to use in other games this year, including games against the Rangers and Penguins. Apparently attendance is much more of an issue than they let on in New York.

The New Jersey Devils were in the same boat tonight as well but apparently didn’t seek to get the game postponed nor has there been any announcement about reimbursing fans who were snowed out of going to Newark for the game.

Update: Tonight’s attendance on Long Island: 3,136. Safe to say that perhaps postponing tonight’s game might’ve been a good idea as this attendance is even poor by Islanders standards.

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