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."