Who said this year's professional sports seasons were going to be a drag?
Last night, Game 1 of the Tampa Bay Lightning-Columbus Blue Jackets playoff series kicked off at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. Coming up on the end of regulation time, the teams were at a stalemate with a game score of 2-2 when they headed into overtime. And then a second overtime. And then a third, fourth and (finally) a fifth and final overtime.
The Lightning pulled out a win as the clock neared the end of the game's last period, ending just before 9:30 p.m. ET after a 3:00 p.m.-ish puck drop and making it the fourth-longest game in NHL history. Even though it went on forever, the game-play was full of energy, players being flung across the ice into the goal and skating fast as...well, lightning to avoid icing calls. On a normal night, the teams would most likely be beginning their game in the evening, which would have pushed this five OT series opener into the early hours of the next morning. As 2020 would have it, the guys were still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as they went into extra, extra, extra periods.
The rink even made a funny, calling for a "seven-period stretch" despite the lack of fans in the stands.
It was all very cheeky and fun, considering that this NHL season is even being played at all, but, uh, the Carolina Hurricanes were not amused.
You see, the Canes were scheduled to play the Boston Bruins last night at 8 p.m. ET, after the Lightning-Blue Jackets game. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem, but as part of the NHL's COVID-19 shake-up, the entirety of the play-off games are being held at only two arenas: Scotiabank for all east coast teams and Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for all west coast teams.
So, Carolina and Boston had to wait for Tampa Bay and Columbus to finish up before they could play.
Obviously, no one expected a 3 p.m. game to go on for six hours, but Carolina could not have been more whiny (and hilarious) on Twitter.
Coming up on the game's fourth hour and already assuming that they'd experience a delay-of-game, the team was cracking jokes, albeit overtly cynically, even showing their players chillin' out during their unexpected break time.
They started getting a little fiesty around their would-be start time...
...to which the NHL and Blue Jackets quipped right back:
They got into their feelings a little bit and tried to hang on to their fanbase, desperately hoping that benders everywhere would stay up with them.
And then, once the league decided to push their game entirely, they admitted defeat:
But not without one last zing.
Meanwhile, the Bruins...could not have cared less. For as much tweeting as the Canes did, the Bruins were quiet as a mouse. Knowing Boston, these guys took the delay with a Bud Light shotgun and enjoyed their impromptu day off.
Only time will tell which team's temper-tantrum strategy will pay off with a brunch hockey win!