They might be based in the South, but many of the Carolina Hurricanes who showed up to play against the Sabres before the game was postponed Tuesday night were familiar with blustery conditions.
Still, the Arctic temperatures and whiteouts outside First Niagara Center were intense, even for players from Canada, Russia and Finland.
“It’s really windy. I watched a guy get blown back 20 feet trying to close the trunk of his car last night,” goalie Justin Peters said in the visiting team’s locker room after the morning skate. “Riding the bus over here, you couldn’t see too far, you could barely see the traffic light in front of you.”
In spite of the fact that both teams were in town, the game was postponed so that fans would not venture downtown in the face of severe weather conditions.
“Where I’m from in Alberta, we’re used to the cold, but we’re not used to the wind so much,” said forward Brett Sutter. “So it was a pretty interesting drive this morning, not being able to see too much in front of us.”
Ryan Murphy, also of Canada, said the “extreme” weather was a big change from the kind of temperatures the team experiences at home in Raleigh, N.C.
Players from two countries known for wintry conditions also took notice of Buffalo’s conditions.
“Sometimes we get snow storms in Russia, it’s not a big deal for me. It’s just that you can’t see much on the road, so that’s the problem a little bit,” said forward Alexander Semin, who is from a town southeast of Moscow.
“It’s a winter storm. We don’t have weather like this every day, that’s for sure. But we have weather like this once in awhile, so in that way it’s normal,” said forward Tuomo Ruutu, who is from Finland.
One former Sabre now on the Hurricanes said he was taking the weather in stride.
“I’m used to it,” forward Nathan Gerbe said. “I spent five years here, and kind of saw all sorts of weather. It’s cold out there, but you have to bundle up.”
The storm made a bigger impression on forward Aaron Palushaj, who like Gerbe is from Michigan.
“I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a storm like this. I can’t remember driving and not being able to see five feet in front of you. That’s pretty wild,” Palushaj said.
“But it’s not too bad when you’re going from the hotel to the bus to the rink. You’re outside for about 10 seconds, so I think we’ll live.”