NEWARK, N.J. – Since it opened in 2007, the Prudential Center in gritty downtown Newark has never been confused for an arena with a hard and fast ice surface. It's a common complaint in Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Center, a seemingly forgotten aspect of building operations for some of the NHL's newest stadiums.
The Prudential Center took an all-time hit last round when Panthers coach Kevin Dineen ripped the ice conditions before Game 3 against the Devils.
Yes, the coach of the Florida Panthers, home to usually the worst ice on the planet, was critical of the ice in New Jersey. That's saying something.
"If the quality of ice is anything like it was this morning at the skate, I don't know," Dineen said. "I think their customer service probably will be pretty embarrassed to see that's what they are putting out there for people to see."
Heading into Game 3 one round later, the ice conditions are the biggest thing to watch for the Flyers on an otherwise quiet Thursday morning. The Flyers held an optional morning skate after a brief practice on Wednesday.
Normally, they wouldn't be too much of a problem, but it's a perfect storm for the ice making staff in Newark.
That's because New Jersey's favorite son, Bruce Springsteen, made the sold out Prudential Center crowd roar late into the night on Wednesday. It was Springsteen's final stop on tour before heading to Europe and unbelievably his first-ever concert in Newark.
With a late changeover, little time to work on the ice, and messy conditions outside, it could be an interesting morning. It's supposed to be nearly 70 degrees in North Jersey on Thursday with 80 percent humidity.
The sloppy ice would seem to benefit the Devils, who are already used to the conditions, and a valuable tool to slow down the faster Flyers.
Just something to keep an eye on before puck drop…