Boston, MA -
The Boston Bruins announced today that the third period in tonight’s game against the Atlanta Thrashers will be split, with the teams switching ends at the first stoppage in play after the 10-minute mark of the period. The Bruins and Thrashers will begin the third period in the same ends that they finished the second period. Following the first stoppage after the 10-minute mark of the third period, the teams will switch ends, and the face-off will take place on the opposite side of where play ended.
The change in format is occurring due to incorrect markings on the West End (visitors bench side) of the TD Banknorth Garden Ice. In the West End, the two face-off dots are 24 feet from the goal line - four feet longer than NHL specifications. The corresponding face-off circles are also four feet further away from the goal line.
The current sheet of ice was installed on September 9, 2008, and the error was not noticed until this morning. Given the time of the discovery, replacing and/or modifying the marks on the ice was not possible. Immediately upon gaining knowledge of the error, the Bruins communicated with the NHL League Office. Due to the error, the NHL has mandated the changes to tonight’s game format.
“Of the many logistical tasks the Garden operations team is called upon to perform each season, painting and marking the ice sheet is one of the more routine and straight-forward. Therefore, this oversight is simply an inexcusable and disappointing error for which we apologize to the Boston Bruins and the NHL at-large,” said TD Banknorth Garden President John Wentzell.
TD Banknorth Garden Management has determined that the ice sheet will be replaced prior to the Bruins next game at the TD Banknorth Garden, which will take place on Saturday, November 1, against the Dallas Stars at 7:00 p.m. ET.