The Carolina Hurricanes will get first crack at getting a jump on the post-Winter Olympics NHL schedule.
The NHL rescheduled the postponed Jan. 7 game in Buffalo between the Hurricanes and Sabres for Feb. 25 at 7 p.m., which was previously the final day of the 17-day Winter Olympic break. With the two teams’ schedules unable to yield another date, the league, teams and NHL Players Association agreed to playing the game on Feb. 25.
The question now is: could either team be without a player or players due to the small two-day window between the make-up game and the Olympic gold medal game, which will be held on Sunday, Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. (Sochi is nine hours ahead of the Eastern time zone)? A quick search of commercial flights from Sochi, Russia, to Buffalo, N.Y., reveal that most flights departing take more than 20 hours, with the shortest being 18 hours and 37 minutes. Even while gaining nine hours in flight, that makes playing a game just two days after the gold medal game seem difficult.
Carolina has three players (American defenseman Justin Faulk, Finnish forward Tuomo Ruutu, and Slovakian defenseman Andrej Sekera) poised for Sochi as of right now, while the Sabres have four (Latvian forward Zemgus Girgensons, Swedish goalie Jhonas Enroth, Swedish defenseman Henrik Tallinder, and American goalie Ryan Miller).
Here is the release from the Hurricanes:
HURRICANES AT SABRES RESCHEDULED FOR FEB. 25
Game originally set for Jan. 7 was postponed due to weather
RALEIGH, NC – The National Hockey League today announced that the postponed game between the Carolina Hurricanes at Buffalo Sabres (NHL Game 647), originally scheduled for Jan. 7, will be played at First Niagara Center in Buffalo on Tuesday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m.
The game is being played on the final day of the 17-day break in the regular-season schedule (Feb. 9-25) that allows for 150 of the NHL’s top players to participate in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. The decision to play the game on Feb. 25, was made by the NHL in consultation with both the Sabres and the Hurricanes, as well as the NHL Players’ Association.