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Posted at 4:26 PM ET, 12/27/2010

Winter Classic ice crew bracing for rain

By Lindsay Applebaum

Despite well-above freezing temperatures and rain in the forecast this coming weekend in Pittsburgh, officials for the NHL's fourth annual Winter Classic between the Capitals and Penguins said there are no planned changes to the schedule.

"We will do everything humanly possible to play this game on Saturday," NHL executive vice president of events Don Renzulli said in a news conference Monday, adding that weather leading up to the outdoor showcase has been an issue "every year."

If downpours make the ice at Heinz Field unsafe for players or threaten to disrupt the flow of a game, the NHL and networks can wait to begin until as late 8 p.m. on New Year's Day. If a Jan. 1 game isn't possible, they will try again beginning Sunday at noon, and if that doesn't work, the game will be rescheduled for later in the season at Consol Energy Center.

Event officials have been using a local company to monitor changes to the weather twice daily and they will receive updates on rain patterns beginning 48 hours out.

Swirling winds around the stadium have made it difficult to get the ice surface even, NHL operations facilities manager Dan Craig said, but he added that the crew is still "ahead of schedule."

By Lindsay Applebaum  | December 27, 2010; 4:26 PM ET
Categories:  Winter Classic  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Despite Winter Classic buildup, Caps focused on Montreal
Next: The challenge of building an outdoor rink

Comments

If this game isn't played the NHL will continue to be just another laughing stock... I can't imagine it won't be played though.

Posted by: SkinstownUSA | December 27, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

@skinstownUSA

You mean a laughing stock like the NFL last night with the Eagles??? Shut it...

Posted by: SA-Town | December 27, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Hey SkinstownUSA. You mean a laughing stock like the Washington football team with the racist name and losing record? Typical Skins fan. Go Caps!

Posted by: jmarks09 | December 27, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

how could this be seen as the NHL's fault. no one, NHL, NFL, NBA, MLB, Oprah, President Obama, Ted Leonsis, Sidney Crobsy, Alex Ovechkin...no one can control the weather. so seriously...shut up.

Posted by: capsfan387 | December 27, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Weather has clearly effected more than a few football games this year and in prior years.

A few years ago when Philly played Tampa in the World Series, I think game 5 was suspended for two days because of weather. So they played half of game 5 of the World series on one day and the 2nd half two days later.

The most extreme and serious case of weather effecting sports in the U.S. was Katrina.

Like was said above, you can't control the weather. But barring an absolute all-day downpour the game will be played. They will look at the radar when Saturday approached and find the window to play it in.

I'm actually hoping that it does rain in the day time and they postpone it to 8 pm on Saturday night. I think it would be awesome to watch the game outside at night. Of course the fans at the game may not like the cold, but it would make for excellent tv.

It may even increase the ratings as the only bowl game it would be facing(I think) would be the horrible Fiesta Bowl(UConn vs. Oklahoma) that no one will be watching anyways.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 27, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

This is why I was surprised the NHL promised D.C. a classic game in the near future...weather this far south is not consistent enough. They need to only choose cities far enough north to guarantee "ice" weather as much as possible.

Posted by: capscoach | December 27, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Wow...there is hope for ALL of us CAPS fans ......Crosby doesnt control EVERYTHING after all........

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | December 27, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

@Capsfannmiss

According to some Canadian writers, Crosby is god. If they are right, Crosby may very well control the weather.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 27, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

It will snow in friggin' Pittsburgh and you'll have that entire stupid city saying "Thank you, Crosby. God heard your prayers and answered it." You'll have Crosby crying tears going, "I did it for the fans. I know how much they wanted to see me play hockey here. I couldn't bear to have them go home and not see me play." Then, he'll be called selfless and the true epitome of what man should aspire to be. *rolls eyes*

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | December 27, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

On another note.....what is the over/under on the time it takes for OV to steam roll Geno in the next game? I'll start with under the 3 minute mark.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | December 27, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Ovie is gonna crush Shrek Malkin early on for sure.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 27, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

what is the over/under on the time it takes for OV to steam roll Geno in the next game? I'll start with under the 3 minute mark.
-------------------------------

I have another question, is Ovi even gonna score 30 goals this year??

At this rate Crosby's scoring streak will probably end up being a bigger number than the number of goals Ovi scores this season.

Posted by: joek443 | December 27, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

The problem with Pittsburgh is that it does tend to rain/snow there much more often then DC does. It is not the temp that is that big of an issue (they played an outdoor game in Vegas once) as the rain is. If it is a soft rain it could easily freeze and created small bumps all of the ice which would make it near impossible to skate but if it is too hard then there are water puddles all over the ice and passing and shooting become impossible and just controling the puck is a challenge.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 27, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

This is why the WC should be held on baseball fields, like Fenway and Wrigley. If the game was held at PNC Park, instead of Heinz Field, they wouldn't have to rush to have the field turned back around. The game could be played Monday or Wednesday.

Posted by: sabredc | December 27, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

The ice will be perfect in Pittsburgh if BB plays DJK for all 60min. during the Winter Classic.

The preceding message has been brought to you by cstanton and vermontcaps.

Posted by: getjiggly | December 27, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

@sabredc The problem with baseball fields is that all of the seats are pointed toward home plate and the game is played in the outfield so you have to turn your body the whole game to see it if you are in any baseline seat toward the outfield. Also the sightlines are much worse since the shapes of the rink and field are so different. That is why I have been saying DC's game should be played at RFK. Same better football set up and no football team to have to turn it around quickly for.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 27, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

sabredc, Wednesday would not have been an option given that Pittsburgh already has a game that night. (The Caps have a home game Tuesday but are otherwise off that week.) I think the bigger issue from the NHL's standpoint is that if it's not played on the weekend, the attendance will fall apart due to all the people who travel for this one. (I'm one of them: Have to come back Sunday so that my wife can get to work Monday. I can work remotely from anywhere, but she can't.)

icehammer97, RFK has a football conflict because of that dopey bowl game that's being played there on December 29 (this year). The bowl has a contract for use of RFK for several more years, so that's the end of that venue as an option for January 1 any time soon. Yeah, there are too many bowls and this one is one of the unnecessary ones, but that's life.

Posted by: 1995hoo | December 27, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

An outdoor game has no business being here or Pittsburgh for that matter. You can't control Mother Nature--so at the very least you need to go with better odds. Frankly, even a game in Boston was playing with fire. If the NHL were smart about showcasing their great game, they would choose the location more wisely.

Posted by: HeatherinMD | December 27, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

@joek

Shanahan has the elbow room to do what he wants. BB has lost three game 7's at home in a row. We now have more game 7 home losses than ancient franchises like the Wings. The comparison between these two men is grotesque !!

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | December 27, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Rain is the big fear of the Winter Classic. That it happens in Pittsburgh and maybe ruins the whole thing is just.... awesome.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | December 27, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

This is the type of game made for morons. Hockey outside might be great for pick-up hockey but not as a professional contest. The fans paying to see this game are ridiculous stupid, as there are no good seats and the weather is not conducive for any type of enjoyment. As a hockey fan, I know that this game does not bring the best from the players, as Capitals fan I just hope no one of them gets injured, as a moron watcher I will enjoy seeing them freeze their butts while I zip a nice warm drink while watching the game on TV.

Posted by: hock1 | December 27, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

@justafan

Then explain to me why Backtrom looks like monkey dung out there. Everyone is lamenting Ovi's lack of production. With just a casual look at any of the games, you can see Ovi is getting smothered by defenders. That means 19 has got to start hitting the twine with his shots.

Is he just another lazy Euro who has signed a big contract? This guys fall off is much more drastic than Ovi's, because you can see Ovi hustling. When Ovi draws that much attention, you have to score to lighten the load.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | December 27, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

@justafan

Then explain to me why Backtrom looks like monkey dung out there. Everyone is lamenting Ovi's lack of production. With just a casual look at any of the games, you can see Ovi is getting smothered by defenders. That means 19 has got to start hitting the twine with his shots.

Is he just another lazy Euro who has signed a big contract? This guys fall off is much more drastic than Ovi's, because you can see Ovi hustling. When Ovi draws that much attention, you have to score to lighten the load.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | December 27, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

@getjiggly

Yes, a DJK fight would be nice. Several would be even better. I'm sure King is itching to go since Orr got such a great grip on his right arm the last fight.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | December 27, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

@hock1

I think it makes for entertaining television and am glad the NHL has a game on New Year's Day and I am excited to see the Caps play the Pens in it this year.

If you don't enjoy it, that is fine. If you don't go to the game and/or watch, that is also fine. But stop whining about it.

The huge crowds and the large TV ratings show that many people do enjoy watching the spectacle. Sports is entertainment. This game entertains more people than any other regular season hockey game all year.

If it is not entertaining to you or anyone else, then don't watch. There is nothing wrong with that. But no one wants to hear you whining about it.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 27, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

This is the type of game made for morons.
--------------------------------------

No, actually you're a moron. This is a made for TV event. It has become the biggest sporting event on New Year's Day, replacing all the Bowl games.

Besides the Olympics where else would the NHL get this type of exposure? The answer is NONE.

Posted by: joek443 | December 27, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

@joek

You nailed him. Where else can the NHL get that kind of exposure ??????????

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | December 27, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Shanahan has the elbow room to do what he wants.
--------------------------------

He has won his titles more than a decade ago when he had Elway and Davis running his offense... that's ancient history as far as I'm concerned.

He was basically a .500 coach when he got fired by his friend no less. And he has always been a terrible personnel guy. He's no Bill Parcells and will never be judging by the McNabb debacle.

And of course Snyder gives him $7M/year and gives him total control of the team... yeah, makes a lot of sense!!!

Posted by: joek443 | December 27, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

@joek

You need an Elway - like QB to be over .500 in the NFL.

BB is a miserable failure in the playoffs. Mike has 2 rings. There is no comparison there worth discussing.

Does that HBO special make you feel comfortable with BB going into the playoffs
for the cUp? (yes, I did it again: "U")
Shanahan carrys himself like a champion.
BB is a goof !

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | December 27, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

The Ravens won a SB with Trent Dilfer as their QB.

QBs like Elways don't come around too often and if your offense needs a QB like him in order to be over .500, you need to get rid of that offense.

Posted by: joek443 | December 27, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Elways = Elway

Posted by: joek443 | December 27, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Shanahan won two SBs with Elway and one with Steve Young when he was the OC with the 49ers. Elway and Young are arguably the two most gifted QBs in the last 30 years in the NFL.

They can make a lot of offenses look very good.

Posted by: joek443 | December 27, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Jose looked awful in shootout for Wild.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | December 27, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

Bill Bellicheck has only won with Tom Brady as a QB(look at his record in Cleveland without Brady).

Bill Walsh only won with Joe Montana as his QB.

Chuck Knoll only won with Bradshaw as his QB.

Jimmy Johnson only won with Troy Aikman as his QB.

Are they all in the boat as Shannahan?

Posted by: sgm3 | December 27, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

What I think is really amazing is all the unemployed people in Pittsburgh have sold their food stamps and children and kidneys to buy tickets, only sell them to all of us Caps fans on stub hub.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | December 27, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

slovakia beat germany 2-1 with an OT PP goal
grubauer stopped 37 of 39 shots (33-34 in reg)
riecicky (of slavakia) stopped 47-48 for the game

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 27, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

@kcbrichmond

agree - it looked like he didn't even move on the two that went in. so sad.

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 27, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

HEY SKINSTOWN. i WAS SEASON TICKET HOLDER FOR 42 YEARS.REDSKINS BAND 11 YEARS. WAS IS THE KEY WORD SINCE THE AWFUL OWNER WHO HAS KILLED A ONCE PROUD FRANCHISE I GAVE UP THE SEASON TICKETS AFTER THE GREEDY BASTARD CHARGED FOR PARKING AT THE PRATICE FACILITY A FEW YEARS BACK. IF AND UNTIL THIS JERK STAYS OUT OF PERSONNEL MATERS THE FRANCHISE IS DOOMED AND A LEAGUE WIDE JOKE. I NOW HAVE WASH. CAPS SEASON TICKETS AND TRAVEL 41 TIMES FROM OCEAN CITY. THE OWNER IS A WONDERFUL PERSON AND LISTENS TO THE FANS. TO DAMN BAD HE DON'T OWN THE DEADSKINS

Posted by: duckyjimpond | December 28, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

why cancel an nfl game because of a little ole snow storm???

back in 1957-58 at old griffith stadium I was a member of the Redskins Marching Band and the Skins played the Giants in a snow storm and it was great. their was so much snow on top of the tarp they couldn't get the tarp up so they played right on top of the snow and tarp. when players were tackled the slide 15 yards. It was a hell of a lot of fun. I guess we are not as hardy as we used to be or the NFL officals are a bunch of wussies.

Posted by: duckyjimpond | December 28, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

By the way. Joe Gibbs won 3 super Bowls with 3 diffrent QBs!!!!

He's in a class by himself

Posted by: duckyjimpond | December 28, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

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