|Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby adjusts his jersey before a practice session for the NHL Winter Classic in Pittsburgh on December 31, 2010. (REUTERS/Jason Cohn)
PITTSBURGH - With warm weather and rains predicted for overnight and throughout the day Saturday, the NHL has officially moved puck drop until 8 p.m.
The game between the host Penguins and Washington Capitals was scheduled to start at 1 p.m. at Heinz Field, home of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. But after the Caps’ afternoon practice, in which pylons had to be placed on the temporary surface to cover cracks and holes plus the gloomy weather forecast, the league made the switch.
In a release, the NHL said the decision was based on “the latest meteoroligical reports, which have advised an approaching front of potentially steady rain expected to fall through the afternoon and taper off by early evening.”
The league then consulted with both teams before making the decision.
The forecast calls for cooler drier conditions into the evening which should make the game conducive to being played under the lights at the 70,000-seat stadium.
Once the game has begun, it may be subject to one or more temporary stoppages due to unplayable weather conditions, at the discretion of commissioner Gary Bettman.