PHILADELPHIA -- While the weather at Citizens Bank Park is beautiful on Friday afternoon, and it's expected to be the same over the next few days, there's one weather problem that's wreaking havoc on the ice that's down on the field.
As a result of direct sunlight, events are being pushed back at the ballpark Friday, and there's a chance the sun could impact Alumni Game festivities on Saturday, too.
It's just a dose of bad luck that from about 11 a.m. to about 2 p.m, the sun comes in direct contact with the ice rink that's positioned across the center of the baseball diamond. As the sun moves from the East to the West, it swings parallel to the ice, making direct contact for several hours.
Here's an image of the field at just around 11:20 a.m. Friday. You'll notice the blankets over the logos to protect them from the sunlight. There are some shadows on the rink, but there's also plenty of sunlight, and it only gets worse as the middle of the day progresses.
That's awful for the quality of the ice, as you can imagine. It can be a freezing cold day, but a direct hit from the sun will still warm the ice considerably. Couple that with the fact that temperatures are expected to be in the high 40s to mid-50s without much cloud cover over the next few days, and the NHL has a serious problem on their hands.
As a result of the sun contact, a media game originally scheduled for 12 p.m. Friday has been pushed back to 3 p.m., and a media skate scheduled for 1 p.m. was pushed back to 2 p.m. The sun will, hopefully, be mostly off the ice by then, eliminating the problems.
An NHL spokesman said that there are preliminary discussions ongoing about the possibility to moving the Alumni Game from a 1 p.m. start time on Saturday. After all, with the weather forecast virtually the same for Saturday as it is Friday, those same issues with the sun will still exist. But there's nothing official on that. If there's a change, we'd expect an announcement from the NHL on Friday evening.
For more on this year's Winter Classic, head over to SB Nation's Rangers blog Blueshirt Banterand Flyers blog Broad Street Hockey. For everything Winter Classic in the build-up to the game, head over to our NHL Winter Classic StoryStream.