Sun causes Winter Classic delay

A view of the Citizens Bank Park, the site of the 2012 NHL Winter Classic, while the Flyers alumni...

A view of the Citizens Bank Park, the site of the 2012 NHL Winter Classic, while the Flyers alumni plays against the Rangers alumni in Philadelphia, Penn., Dec. 31, 2011. (TIM SHAFFER/Reuters)

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:50 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA - The start of Monday's Winter Classic will be pushed back two hours to 3 p.m.

For a baseball stadium, this is a switch: the game could be delayed because of sun.

The rink was bathed in sunlight Sunday at 1 p.m. -- the scheduled starting time for the game -- creating a strong glare off the ice, glass and boards. Not to mention direct sun on the ice affects its quality (which has been pretty good).

The forecast for Monday is partly cloudy, windy and a high of about 5 degress Celsius.

Interesting that conditions are not the best at 1 p.m. should sneak up on the NHL, which said the start time was changed to present optimal playing conditions.

"The glare will be away and that was the only issue I saw when we got out there. The sun was almost too bright," said Rangers centre Brad Richards. "Right now, when we got off (around 4 p.m.), it was perfect out there."

All the players will have to adjust to the radically different environment.

"It's definitely going to feel different when you get out there. It'll settle in once the puck drops," said Richards. "In warmup, you'll probably be looking around. Once you get it full of people, I'm sure it's going to have a different feel. It'll kind of look around for a little bit, but you don't want to get clocked, so you don't want to look around too much."

• • •

Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov won't be starting the Winter Classic Monday.

He's been breaking in pads and gloves coloured like your classic leather goalkeepers' gear, which he won't get a chance to use now.

Did he have plans for the pads?

"I'll finish the game tomorrow and try to make some money, maybe sell piece by piece," he said.

On eBay, he was asked?

"What's your suggestion?" he asked. "Everybody makes money on this game; the players have to, too, you know."

He was kidding.

We think.

• • •

For the second Winter Classic in a row, there was a marriage proposal on the ice.

The sister of Flyers star Claude Giroux, Isabelle, had the big question popped by her fiance, Eric, during the Flyers family skate on the rink at Citizens Bank Park.

Eric called up Giroux a couple of days earlier asking about how he should propose and Giroux said to do it on the ice.

"He was skating around for, like a half an hour and he was all nervous. He didn't know how to do it. I'm like, 'grow (a pair),' just do it. So he went down there and did it. It was pretty funny."

At last year's Winter Classic, a friend of Washington Capitals defenceman Mike Green used the big stage for his proposal.

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/CJ_Stevenson


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