Former Capital and current Predator Tyler Sloan said both teams were fortunate not to suffer any serious injuries due to the poor ice conditions at 1st Mariner Arena during Tuesday night’s preseason game.
“It was bad,” said Sloan, who spent the previous six seasons in Washington’s organization. “Along the boards, there was cement [where ice had melted]. Guys were ticked off a little bit because it was dangerous. You don’t like to see that because you can see some screwy things when the ice is bad.”
“We’ll see how I feel tomorrow,” the defenseman added. “But, yeah, it wasn’t great.”
Sloan said the hardest part of Nashville’s 2-0 victory was the heat and humidity inside the building, which was hosting a professional hockey game for the first time since 1997. As a result, Sloan spent the night “pounding liquids” in an effort to stay hydrated. He also said he got “completely soaked” each time he hit the ice, which was covered with puddles from the opening faceoff.
“It was new ice, so I don’t think it had time to totally solidify,” he added. “So along the boards, where guys were jumping off, that’s where it had a lot of problems. The outdoor games have problems along the boards – big chunks come out and you’re down to the concrete. If a guy catches a toe in there and twists a knee or something, it could be pretty ugly.”
Asked if the ice conditions worked against the Capitals’ skilled players – and to the Predators’ advantage – he said: “A little bit. They’re still good. They still moved the puck well out there. But it definitely didn’t help them. Nashville is pretty hard-working, mucking-it-up team.”
Nashville Coach Barry Trotz, who coached the Skipjacks from 1990-93, was a little easier on the arena where broke into the pro coaching ranks.
“They just didn’t get the building cold enough,” he said. “It wasn’t great. You really have to be mentally tough. Even from our standpoint, we had to say, let’s not try to be too creative here. The conditions wouldn’t allow us to do that.”