Storm wreaks havoc on Pa. sports
A blizzard socking the Eastern United States disrupted the sports schedule Saturday for a second day, forcing the postponement of two more NHL games and several college basketball games and stranding two college teams on the snow-choked Pennsylvania Turnpike.
More than 500 cars, trucks and buses, some carrying the men's basketball team from Duquesne and the women's gymnastics squad for Temple, got stuck Friday night as snow started to fall. The Duquesne and Temple buses were freed Saturday night, and Duquesne posted online video of 15 players, coaches and support staff helping to push their bus.
The NHL postponed the Philadelphia Flyers' game at the New York Islanders, which had been scheduled for Saturday night. It also postponed Sunday's game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals. Makeup dates were not set for either game.
The NHL initially shifted the starting time of Friday's game in Washington between the Capitals and Anaheim, moving it up two hours to 5 p.m. The league then postponed it but did not yet have a makeup date.
On Friday, the NBA said Boston's game at Philadelphia, which had been scheduled for Saturday night, would be played on Sunday night instead. The Utah Jazz's game at Washington, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, will be reset at a later date.
In college basketball, Army played Navy in women's basketball at Madison Square Garden on Saturday afternoon, but the men's game between the schools and a men's game between St. John's and Marquette scheduled for later in the day were postponed because of the storm, which was to forecast to dump more than 2 feet of snow in New York.
To the south, the Carolina Panthers weren't concerned about the weather playing a factor in Sunday night's NFC championship game against the Arizona Cardinals. Temperatures in Charlotte, North Carolina, could dip into the 30s by game time, but no precipitation was forecast.
Panthers executive director of stadium operations Scott Paul said ice and snow that fell Friday had been removed from the stadium, and the tarp would remain on the field until about six hours before the game.
The Cardinals' team plane departed for Charlotte on time Saturday. Several flights were canceled in and out of Charlotte on Friday, but the New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets both made it on time for Saturday night's NBA game.
The Duquesne men's basketball team wasn't as lucky with its travels. The team bus got stuck overnight on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in the western part of the state as traffic backed up for miles.
"The bathroom is not that bad. It could be worse," said Dave Saba, a team spokesman. "It's not what you would expect from 31 men on a bus. We try to keep it clean."
The governor's office said the problems in Somerset County began after westbound tractor-trailers were unable to climb a hill and hundreds of other vehicles backed up behind them.
The team was on its way home from an 86-75 win over George Mason in Fairfax, Virginia.
The players mostly got by on leftover pizza and Gatorade and watched movies, including "Invincible." And it was difficult for some of the players, who were quite tall, to sleep on the bus.
That wasn't as big a problem for the Temple women's gymnastics team, which also was stuck on the Turnpike about 80 miles from Pittsburgh.
"We are a gymnastics team," coach Umme Salim-Beasley said. "So we can get into positions that most people won't be able to get into."
Salim-Beasley said National Guard members were handing out military rations as heavy construction equipment began digging vehicles out.
''They are one by one trying to plow out vehicles and trying to get them moving," she said.