Winter Classic 2011: 8 P.M. Start Prompts Changes For Fans

Fans looking forward to the 2011 Winter Classic today have become fans heading out to the Winter Classic tonight, thanks to weather that pushed back the game. If you're one of the fans heading out to the game to see the Penguins host the Capitals at Heinz Field at 8 p.m., there are a few new rules to be aware of.

From the NHL via email:

Gates to Heinz Field will now open at 5:30 p.m. (ET)
Pre-game entertainment now begins at 7:30 p.m. (ET)
Heinz Field Parking Lots will now open at 2:30 p.m. (ET)
Spectator Plaza will now open at 3 p.m. (ET)

There's also this caveat, likely put in place in case of further adverse weather tonight and for the safety of the players.

Once the game has begun, it may be subject to one or more temporary stoppages due to unplayable weather conditions, at the discretion of the Commissioner.

That's an interesting stipulation, and one that makes sense: if rain or heat makes the ice unplayable, there's not much the NHL can do but get it fixed quickly. But the way that's phrased — giving power to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, renowned for his spotless record of decision-making — won't make many NHL fans happy.

*This is sarcasm.

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