The cataclysmic flooding that has hit Middle Tennessee over the last two days is (finally) drawing national attention, as lives have been lost, homes & businesses destroyed, and entire neighborhoods submerged, likely for a few more days.
This news led to the natural question, offered up on the radio airwaves by Blaine Bishop of the 104.5's "3 Hour Lunch" - what would have happened to the Nashville Predators if they were still in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and flooding prevented the use of Bridgestone Arena?
Follow after the jump for a look at a precedent set over 20 years ago...
The year was 1988, and the Edmonton Oilers were gunning for their fourth Stanley Cup in just five seasons. As they faced off against the Prince of Wales Conference champions, the Boston Bruins, the Oilers were able to hold serve on home ice and take the first two games in Edmonton. From there, they headed to Boston, and beat the Bruins in Game 3, 6-3.
During Game 4, with the score tied 3-3 and the Bruins trying to hang on for their playoff lives, however, the lights went out - literally. Feel free to enjoy this entire clip (note the lack of shot-blocking in the defensive zone), or jump right to the 10:00 mark:
Late in the second period the power failed at the old Boston Garden, forcing the cancellation of Game Four and an evacuation of the arena.
"It was very weird," recalled [Oilers winger Normand] Lacombe. "I was sitting on the bench at the time. Here we were, in the middle of a Stanley Cup final, and the lights go out. It was eerie. Right away, I began worrying about my parents. They had come to Boston to hopefully watch us win the Stanley Cup. They were in the stands, sitting in the dark."
"We had to go back to the dressing rooms where there were some emergency lights. They didn't make us wait too long, though. It didn't take long to find out the game was canceled."
Then-NHL Commissioner John Ziegler relied upon NHL By-Law 27.12 (c):
If for any cause beyond the control of the Clubs a Playoff game should be unfinished, such game shall be replayed in its entirety at the end of the Series, if necessary, and it shall be played at the rink in which the unfinished game occurred.
The individual statistics from Game Four were kept in the NHL records, but the series headed back to Edmonton, where the Oilers finished off the Bruins to complete their sweep. If the Bruins had been able to hold on, they would have replayed "Game Four" at the end of the series - an odd way to get home-ice advantage for the deciding game, to be sure.
That situation involved a game that was interrupted during play, but By-Law 27.13 anticipates a game not even being able to get started:
If a contending Club in any Playoff Series is unable to play its home games on its home ice, the first or second game, or both first and second of such games, must be played on the home ice of any other Member Club of the League, provided always that no deciding game in any Series may be placed on neutral ice...
However, in any instance in which the home ice of a contending club is not available for use for any Playoff Series due to damage or destruction partial or total, or as a consequence of any other matter over which the home team has no control, which event shall be determined at the sole discretion of the Commissioner and if so determined, a contending club must adopt the ice of any other Member Club as its home ice for any Playoff Series, the rental for which shall be negotiated between such contending club and the lesser.
So basically, in such a situation, the Predators would "adopt" another team's ice as their own for Games 3 & 4. Would they go with Phillips Arena, home of the Atlanta Thrashers, perhaps? Arena availability can play a big role in such impromptu situations, with concerts and the NBA playoffs potentially causing conflicts in what are typically multi-use buildings.
Do you think the Atlanta fans would have given the Preds a warm welcome?
Nashvillest has a comprehensive list of donation and volunteer opportunities available for any who wish to help Middle Tennessee recover from this colossal event.