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Posted at 9:45 AM ET, 12/30/2010

Winter Classic weather update: Rain, then cold

By Lindsay Applebaum

A rainfall simulation from the National Weather Service GFS model (from Wednesday morning) for Saturday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Graphic courtesy, adapted by CWG.

Our colleagues over at the Capital Weather Gang will be tracking the Winter Classic rain situation into the weekend, when the Caps and Penguins will (fingers crossed) face off at Heinz Field.

Here's the initial report:

The National Weather Service's GFS (Global Forecast System) model, shown above, indicates between a quarter and half inch of rain is likely to fall in Pittsburgh during the six hours spanning the period prior to game time and the game itself. The European forecast model, not shown, simulates a similar amount of rain. The cause of the rain is a cold front which should pass through the region in the early-to-mid evening, bringing an end to the rain and colder temperatures.

Event officials say they'll wait until 8 p.m. if it means the Winter Classic will be played as scheduled on Jan. 1, so if rain does delay the game, that early-to-mid evening cold front could end up saving the day. Stay tuned to the Capital Weather Gang for more updates as Saturday nears.

By Lindsay Applebaum  | December 30, 2010; 9:45 AM ET
Categories:  Winter Classic  
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Posted by: flee001 | December 30, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

In other words, "be prepared to sit around Heinz Field all day, and try to sit near security personnel to protect yourself from the Pittsburgh fans who will use the time to drink copious quantities of alcohol and then pick fights."

I called Heinz Field to inquire whether they allow a device such as a Kindle into the stadium, figuring that I might want reading material if there is a long delay. The guy I spoke to didn't know what a Kindle is.....

Posted by: 1995hoo | December 30, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

A night game would be awesome. can't wait to blow out of the office today and head up there.

Posted by: GFisher1 | December 30, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse


and maybe in the dark, I'll be able to stomach a little western PA scamper

Posted by: JohnnyBlades | December 30, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

When teams face each other in the playoffs and they look at their head-to-head record during the regular season, I think they should just count shootout wins and losses as ties. This is because there is no shootout in the postseasons, so having shootout success in the regular season has no bearing on the outcome of the game between two opponents.

For possible playoff purposes, the last game between the Pens and Caps was a tie as each team scored two goals. For regular season purposes, the shootout win is meaningful, for the playoffs, it isn't.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 30, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

if you're worried about boorish and drunken behaviour, do you really want to bring expensive electronics?

your call, man.

Posted by: j762 | December 30, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Wow, I hope that they just decide on Friday to delay the game to 8 p.m. Saturday night. That would be much preferable than having to wait around at Heinz Field all day in the rain Saturday – hoping that the game will be played. A night game would be tremendous - Go Caps!

Posted by: MReilly9 | December 30, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse


My guess, is that if the forecast is bad on Friday night that they will delay it then.

I think a night game will be also too and 8 pm is the best time for it. The Rose Bowl will be over by then and the only college football game on on Saturday night(I think) is UConn vs. Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. That is likely to draw horrible ratings for a BCS game and may not even be competitive. That could possibly lead to increased viewership for the WC. In addition, it does allow for greater viewership on the West coast also(starting at 5 pm instead of 10 am).

Posted by: sgm3 | December 30, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

sgm: Myself, I would love that proposed delay. As you can imagine, it would be tough "rocking the white" with white wine here starting at 10 am. Wine with lunch is easy enough but with breakfast?

OK, what's your opinion, if all 8 d-men are healthy, who sits?

I say Sloan and Poti.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | December 30, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse


I am going up on one of the nine or ten buses that were arranged by the Caps Road Crew. It should be a blast but I would rather get there just a few hours before game time than having to kill nine hours or so and deal with uncertainty. I hope that the NHL will make a decision Friday (especially if significant rain is expected) about the start time rather than just make everyone wait around on Saturday.

Posted by: MReilly9 | December 30, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse


Is there really much question who should sit when all are healthy? Here's the numbers for the backline since Hannan was acquired (14 games):

Carlson (14gp) 1g 5a 6pts +3 9hits 23blocks 20shots 10giveaways 12takeaways

Alzner (14gp) 1g 2a 3pts +3 26hits 14blocks 22shots 5giveaways 5takeaways

Green (12gp) 2g 2a 4pts even 32hits 29blocks 33shots 11giveaways 8takeaways

Erskine (12gp) 0g 2a 2pts +2 35hits 19blocks 13shots 7giveaways 0takeaways

Poti (10gp) 0g 5a 5pts -3 1hit 11blocks 10shots 7giveaways 0takeaways

Hannan (13gp) 0g 0a 0pts -7 18hits 19blocks 4shots 11giveaways 1takeaway

Shultz (5gp) 0g 0a 0pts even 5hits 7blocks 1shot 2giveaways 1takeaway

Sloan (2gp) 0g 0a 0pts -2 1hit 1block 0giveaways 0takeaways

Fahey (2gp) 0g 0a 0pts even 1hit 1block 0giveaways 0takeaways

Posted by: vermontcaps | December 30, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse


I agree, Poti and Sloan should be the scratches. Poti because he is coming off another undisclosed injury and why risk it if he is not really 100% and Sloan – well because he is Sloan and not really very good.

They should keep the same D pairings that they had for the Montreal game: Hannan with Green, Alzner with Carlson and Schultz with Erskine. They all played well the other night with Hannan and Green developing good chemistry on the ice.

Posted by: MReilly9 | December 30, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

OK, what's your opinion, if all 8 d-men are healthy, who sits?

I say sit Sloan and Poti.

Posted by: tominsocal1

For tomorrow's game, I would also sit Poti and Sloan. Sloan is no question. Poti is still recovering from injury and may be rusty. There is also no point in rushing him back. In addition, I think Alzner/Clarson, Hannan/Green, Erskine/Schulz have earned the right to play in the game.

For the overall course of the season, it is only a two-point game, but it has so much more meaning for the players. So I think you reward the guys who have been playing well and playing within the gameplan.

Come March and April, we will see. A healthy Poti can be valuable, especially as a 3rd pairing D-man. His mobility, calm with the puck and good outlet passes will be useful. But there are months more to play out before that decision needs to be made. It also may come down to matchups.

Or, for a wild idea(it won't happen but I'm just trying to think outside the box), maybe you play all 7 D-men in the playoffs and 11 forwards. This would cut down the time of all the D-men and leave them more fresh. I'm just throwing out an idea here, not saying it is what should be done.

Then maybe if you get the lead, you play a 2-1-2 with Green and/or Poti and/or Carlson being the rover 1. So there would be 3 D-men on the ice. I have no idea if this would work or not, but I've always wondered why there aren't more configurations used in hockey. Why is it always, 2 D-men, 2 wingers and a center. This clearly won't happen, but I'm just thinking outside the box again.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 30, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse


The first step in fixing any problem is getting beyond the denial. So I don't sound like an ignorant hockey fan, can you or ANYONE ELSE please explain to me how we're better than the Pens:

offensively, defensively, specialty teams, goaltending, toughness, and coaching

I look forward to being enlightened so I don't continue to offend my fellow Capsfans....

Posted by: vermontcaps | December 30, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse


What are those stats for just the last 6 games as those would likely be a better judge of what to expect than the games before it?(there was an adjustment period expected with Hannan coming in)

Posted by: sgm3 | December 30, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Im guessing this game kicks off at 4 p.m, and will get better TV ratings because of it...

Posted by: SA-Town | December 30, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I think that the Winter Classic should be played like a Playoff game, with sudden death and 20 minute overtime periods. The losing team would still get 1 point as it is a regular season game. A game this big should not be decided by the shootout.

Posted by: MReilly9 | December 30, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse


The Caps have more team skill, a better offense, better defense, better goaltending, better PP, better PK now, more size, more toughness and equal coaching(Bylsma is a good coach).

The Pens are better at fighting and whining.

Therefore, the Caps are better(the Caps have won 4 out of the last 5 games against the Pens also, with the only loss being in a shootout). The Caps have not been outscored by the Pens since early 2009 and the next game is in 2011.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 30, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

vermontcaps: I believe we have better secondary scoring than Pitt. Don't have the numbers handy though. OK, simply enough, they are stronger down the middle and we are stronger on the wing. As for the blueliners, might be a draw. Anyone up to lining them up and comparing? I'd easily take Green over any of their D.

sgm: Back when Ron Wilson was coach, the Caps due to injuries at F were using a 2-3 alignment for a few games with Gonchar as rover. 7 D is not a bad idea for some teams, especially if your D do the fighting. Caps though use 4 F on the PP so some of our D aren't taxed as much as maybe other teams. 7 D is also good if you have one as PP specialist. If Caps for instance had a LH shot specialist D man who we could pair with Green on PP, having 7 would work.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | December 30, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

If Caps for instance had a LH shot specialist D man who we could pair with Green on PP, having 7 would work.

Posted by: tominsocal1

Possibly Marc-Andre Bergeron?

True about the PP though and the Caps only using 1 D. Although, maybe they could start using two D with Carlson and Poti getting some time opposite Green(Carlson being the main guy, Poti coming on at the end).

Posted by: sgm3 | December 30, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

The fact is the Pens have won a cup and we havent. That is the big "trump card" everyone who thinks the Pens are so mighty will always fall on. The fact is there is very little difference between the two teams. They are both elite teams in the league. HBO said it the best.......about the highs and lows of a season. Last season we were on a streak like the Pens had this year (winning) and they had a similar streak to the one we had this year (losing). Take it all in stride.

I think we are learning to win in a different style of game....called play-off style.....where you can win a 2-1 or a 3-2 game. I excited to see this team evolve.

I think we are a veteran centerman away from a serious serious run at the cup, and maybe a veteran goalie (although I love both the kids in goal).

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | December 30, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Also, for all the people who love fighting or those people who give Crosby so much credit for pumping up his team for fighting. Has anyone looked at how the Caps have played after the game Ovie fought in?

They are 4-1-2 and have probably played their best overall hockey. They have let up more than 2 goals only ONCE in those 7 games, and that was only a 3 spot to Boston(the 1st period against Boston probably being their only terrible period).

So does Ovie get credit for being a great Captain and setting an example and leading his team? I haven't seen any yet.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 30, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

the real 'decider' on the 8pm start is NBC, I'd think. what are they bumping primetime Saturday night? is there another bowl game that night?

Posted by: capsfan7 | December 30, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

NBC has no other sports on Saturday other than, I believe, a golf broadcast at 4:00, and I believe that's only one hour. The only bowl game on Saturday night is the Fiesta Bowl, which is Connecticut v. Oklahoma and is thus likely to be a bit of a ratings dud. The bowls are now scheduled such that the five BCS games have no other bowls airing opposite them, though an earlier game that runs late might overlap. On Saturday there is one bowl at noon, two at 1 PM, one at 1:30, then the Rose Bowl at 4:30 and the Fiesta at 8:30 (all times EST, of course). All of those air on either ABC (the Outback Bowl) or one of the ESPN channels.

Posted by: 1995hoo | December 30, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I hope it rains nonstop for 12 hours in S_burgh so the Pens have to give a refund.

Man I hate that place and everything about it.

Posted by: pga6 | December 30, 2010 11:33 PM | Report abuse

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