With the NHL Winter Classic just two days away, we can now look at the weather forecast from a more serious standpoint than from earlier in the week.
The two biggest concerns for officials is direct sunlight on the ice for a significant period of time and heavy down pours of rain.
Yesterday, there was a 3-to-4 hour period of direct sunlight on the ice and the ice was characterized as “soft” and not ready to be skated on.
Today, the weather is somewhat nasty in Pittsburgh. There is freezing rain (be careful on the roads) and forecasts are calling for 42 degree temperatures (AM Ice) with 30 percent precipitation and a low of 39 degrees, according to weather.com
However, for tomorrow, things are looking optimistic for the Alumni game to be played and the Penguins and Capitals to practice.
Friday is calling for temperatures of 50 degrees with cloudy skies and only 20 percent of precipitation. A low of 44.
Saturday is where the weather is looking worse than it did a few days ago.
Saturday is calling for temperatures of 48 degrees with an 80 percent chance of rain. The heaviest downpours are expected from 12-6 with the heavy rain clearing out for the most part by night time but not totally. Saturday has a low of 42 with 40 percent precipitation.
The NHL has a window of pushing the game back to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday. They want to play the game on Saturday in the worse way and not go up against the NFL on Sunday.
However, if the rain ends up as bad as forecasts are projecting at this point, the league is going to have to bite the bullet as Sunday’s weather is expected to be excellent.
Sunday is calling for mostly cloudy skies with a temperature of 34 degrees and just 20 percent precipitation.
If the game is pushed back to Sunday, the start time will be 12:00 p.m. NHL officials have denied a report from the post-gazette a few days ago that the game would have to be played at 9:00 a.m. due to NBC’s contractual rights with the NFL.
What’s going to be interesting is how the NHL handles this. If the game is pushed back or cancelled to Sunday, how much time will they give fans? I’m told they will make a decision in an appropriate manner but it’s going to be tough to accommodate that as there’s going to be fans filling the parking lots very early on Saturday.