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Posted at 3:16 PM ET, 12/30/2010

NHL has 'maximum flexibility' to play Winter Classic on Saturday if rain delays start

By Lindsay Applebaum

Update from the Capital Weather Gang, 4:30 p.m.: "Bad news. Weather models have generally trended wetter for the forecast for Pittsburgh between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday. The GFS model (shown above) now indicates 0.5-0.75" of rain will fall on Pittsburgh during that time span (compared to 0.25-0.5" yesterday) and another model, the NAM, also simulates moderate to even heavy rain. If there is any good news, it appears steady rain should cutoff between 3 and 6 p.m. even if scattered light showers linger, potentially opening a window to fit the game in later Saturday should the game be delayed."


Original post: Showers and warmer-than-average temperatures are still in the Pittsburgh forecast for New Year's Day, but the NHL restated its commitment Thursday to playing the Winter Classic between the Capitals and Penguins as scheduled, even if it means moving back faceoff at Heinz Field long past the scheduled 1 p.m. start time.

"We're planning to play at one o'clock," John Collins, the NHL's chief operating officer said in a news conference Thursday, adding that the league has "maximum flexibility to do what we need to do to play this game on Saturday."

Recent forecasts show a window of rain between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., tapering off in the early-to-mid evening hours.

If downpours compromise competitive integrity, the safety of players and convenience of fans, Collins said, the league will look into its options.

"This could take a little while," Collins said, "and the elements... have always been part of the story."

Officials have been monitoring the weather, he added, but with nearly two days until faceoff, the league won't make a decision anytime soon.

"We don't know what the weather's going to be." Collins said. "Our plan is to go on air at one, drop the puck at 1:28, and go from there."

Stay tuned for another forecast from our Capital Weather Gang, coming up soon.

By Lindsay Applebaum  | December 30, 2010; 3:16 PM ET
Categories:  Winter Classic  
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Comments

They will drop the puck at 4 p.m. Thats my predicition......And the Winter Classic will get better ratings then the Rose Bowl.....because the non-hockey fan will have been watching football already earlier, and will be interested in something different.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 30, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I'll be on a plane home from the west coast during the winter classic & have set the DVR with my DirecTV box to record it. Anyone have any idea if it will automatically update the time slot if the move the showing to later in the day?

Posted by: tbhayf | December 30, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Strongly doubt it tbhayf.

Posted by: amorris525 | December 30, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

tbhayf:
i doubt it would automatically do that.
i would think your best bet would be to record every program thru to midnight - it can be done online fairly easily.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 30, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Thanks muchly! We will update our recording timing to make sure we don't miss it.

Posted by: tbhayf | December 30, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I think the game would be better off if it were played at 8pm... I think an evening classic would be paramount for the NHL. Screw college football...the only game that matters is Jan 10th, every other game is simply an exhibition. Thank you college football for not going to a playoff format. We hockey fans appreciate your cooperation. Long live the classic!

Posted by: redskins2448 | December 30, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

It's gonna be a long day Saturday.

It would look pretty sweet as a night game anyway. Remember the one in Edmonton, or for that matter the end of last year's? Or the F1 races in Singapore and Abu Dhabi under the lights? The colors always look outstanding in that sort of situation.

Posted by: 1995hoo | December 30, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I personally would like to see a night game as well. It doesn't sound like it would be too cold so the temp shouldn't affect things much. Regardless of when it takes place this is gonna be 1 heck of a game. Can't wait! Wish I were headed to Pennsyltucky but I'm stuck here in the mile high city with bunches of snow comin down. Oddly enough it's our 1st real snow of the season.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | December 30, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I personally would like to see a night game as well. It doesn't sound like it would be too cold so the temp shouldn't affect things much. Regardless of when it takes place this is gonna be 1 heck of a game. Can't wait! Wish I were headed to Pennsyltucky but I'm stuck here in the mile high city with bunches of snow comin down. Oddly enough it's our 1st real snow of the season.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | December 30, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

As it looks like the rain should be gone by 7 p.m. on Saturday I would prefer a night game as well. Let's hope that the NHL is able to make this call sometime tomorrow and not have it drag out on Saturday.

Posted by: MReilly9 | December 30, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

We need to bring back a win! This town needs it.

Excited as hell. Start Neuvy after Byslma's comments last night.

Posted by: underpants2 | December 30, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Actually I agree with Bylsma. I think Neuvy is a solid goalie but I don't think there's anything special about his game.

When healthy I think Varly is the better goalie and should get the majority of the starts.

Posted by: joek443 | December 30, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

It's kinda like Andy Moog and Grant Fuhr when they were both with the Oilers. Moog was the solild one and Fuhr was the flashy one and got all the starts in the playoffs.

Here Neuvy is the solid one and Varly is the flashy one.

Posted by: joek443 | December 30, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Sitting in Consol Center right nowwaiting for the Bears game to start and I really hope they make a decision early, really don't want to be sitting at Heinz field in the rain hoping to hear something.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 30, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

@joek

Start Varly. See what he's really made of. Many of us are still pissed at his home game 7 implosion from two years ago. Has he grown up ? Can he handle max. pressure ?

Neuvy is solid, but nothin' special. I don't think Bylsma "talk's trash".

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | December 30, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

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