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Posted at 12:36 PM ET, 12/27/2010

Winter Classic threatened by rainy forecast for Saturday

By Cindy Boren

Weather forecasts are notoriously and unreliably ominous five days removed from the annual Winter Classic, but this year there's a four-letter word that no one wants to hear: rain.

Weather.com says there's a 50 percent chance of rain with a high of 44 and a low of 33 Saturday when the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals play at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The forecast for Sunday is more favorable, with a 30-percent chance of rain/snow showers and a high of 37/low of 23.

If the game cannot be played Saturday, the NHL would have the option of playing it Sunday at Heinz, sources tell the New York Times.

And, if playing outdoors is not an option for either day, a makeup date at Pittsburgh's arena would be set for later in the season. The NHL will hold a press conference to discuss the forecast at 4 p.m. today.

The warm temperatures would be less a problem than rain, NHL operations facilities manager Dan Craig said. The playing surface will be kept at 22 degrees; rain, though, would not immediately freeze, flooding the ice surface. When it does freeze, the surface of the ice is uneven.

MORE

Winter Classic: Preview

By Cindy Boren  | December 27, 2010; 12:36 PM ET
Categories:  Winter Classic  
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Comments

They've been lucky so far with these outdoor games, right?

Hopefully one bad experience -- IF the weather doesn't let them play it as scheduled this weekend -- won't scare the NHL off from doing this in the future.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | December 27, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

the Steelers must be thrilled to have that heavy ice rink killing the grass just in time for the playoffs, no?

Posted by: fedssocr | December 27, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

The Steelers could easily have ensured no hockey rink be placed on their football field.

They could have paid for their own stadium. Otherwise, waaaaa.

Posted by: bflorhodes | December 27, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Move it to DC last minute and let the chips fall where they may.

Posted by: alex35332 | December 27, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

heinz field grass sucks anyway

Posted by: bowie2000 | December 27, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Boston had this setup at Fenway last year, there was no rain on game day, and local schools used it several days afterward.

Posted by: schafer-family | December 27, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

the Steelers must be thrilled to have that heavy ice rink killing the grass just in time for the playoffs, no?

Posted by: fedssocr | December 27, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Grass? Heinz Field is painted dirt, I kid you not.

Posted by: sportsjunkie29 | December 27, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Can't wait for Gov. Rendell to weigh in on this...

Posted by: NateinthePDX | December 28, 2010 1:45 AM | Report abuse

did you ever think how Focked up this would become?

Posted by: OldSalt8 | December 28, 2010 2:50 AM | Report abuse

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