Winter Classic 2011: Should Weather, Rain Affect Saturday's Game, NHL Has 'Maximum Flexibility'

The optimal outcome for this weekend's Winter Classic between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals is the scenario that's been planned for weeks: after about a half hour of NBC pre-game, the puck drops around 1:30 p.m. without issue.

As the forecast continues to look grim, however, with rain in the forecast for most of Saturday afternoon, the NHL is kicking their backup plans into overdrive. The League's chief operating officer, John Collins, briefed reporters on Thursday afternoon. 

"We're planning to play at 1 o'clock. We've got maximum flexibility to do what we need to do to get that game in on Saturday. If for some reason it was completely unplayable, we have other options, but we fully expect to get the game in on Saturday."

That "maximum flexibility" involves the other two options the NHL has at their disposal. They could push the game back to later on Saturday afternoon, or they could even postpone the game until Sunday, January 2. 

Collins stressed that it's not the end of the world, and that this weather isn't the kind of thing that will lead to an all-out cancellation of the outdoor game. 

"Hopefully [the weather] is going to change," he said. " ... We're not talking about a blizzard. We're not talking about lightning. We're not talking about tremendously high winds. We're not talking about any of those type of things that would create that kind of a crisis. We'll do what we need to do."

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.