NHL Winter Classic Could Be Moved to Saturday Night
PITTSBURGH -- The NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day may very well be played under the lights at Heinz Field. According to a source, the league is considering announcing a time change for Saturday's game between the Penguins and Capitals from the currently scheduled 1:00 PM ET to a prime time slot on NBC -- either 7:00 or 8:00 PM ET.
Weather forecasts continue to call for driving rain and unseasonably warm temperatures on Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh, a combination of elements that could make the ice surface at Heinz Field unplayable. The rain is expected to lighten in the afternoon.
Executives at broadcast partner NBC have declared all week that the network could carry the Winter Classic in prime time if needed. Instead of having paying customers sit through a lengthy rain delay, the NHL could decide to announce its plans for a time change in advance.
As of 2:30 PM ET, the league had no official comment.
The players in the game are prepared for anything.
"There is really no precedent for this," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said after his team's practice at Heinz Field on Friday afternoon. "Our approach is going to be to not worry about things we cannot control, like the weather. If we have to wait a while to get the game in, we'll wait. Whatever ends up being the start time, we'll just go into it with an open mind, enjoy the experience and give our best effort."
FanHouse TV: Mike "Doc" Emrick Discusses the Winter Classic