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Winter Classic 2011: Rain Falling At Heinz Field, Puddles Creating Bad Ice Conditions

Rain is steadily falling on the rink at the 2011 Winter Classic, and as a result, the ice is in terrible shape. The puck is slowing down in the puddles (which leaves an ice trail reminiscent of Fox's old glowing puck) that are forming on the ice are making play difficult. The teams have switched sides now and with one side of the ice in worse condition than the other, the weather could be the determining factor in who wins this game.

That is, if they even finish the game. What if they have to stop playing thanks to the weather? According to the NHL, here's what will happen:

If the game is started, then stopped permanently due to unplayable weather conditions, it will be deemed "official" once two periods have been played. The team leading at the time play is stopped will be declared the winner and will be awarded two points in the standings.

If the game is tied at the time play is stopped permanently, any time after two periods of play, each team will be awarded one point in the standings, with an opportunity to earn an additional point in a standard shootout format.

If weather conditions permit, the shootout will be conducted at Heinz Field immediately after regulation play has been stopped. If weather conditions make it impossible to conduct a shootout safely at Heinz Field, the shootout will take place at Verizon Center on Sunday, February 6 prior to the regularly scheduled Pittsburgh-Washington game.

If the game is started, and stopped permanently due to unplayable weather conditions, and fewer than two periods of regular time has been played, the game will be officially "postponed" and, if possible, will be played in its entirety at Heinz Field on Sunday, January 2, beginning at 12 p.m. (ET). If the game cannot be replayed at Heinz Field on January 2, it will be rescheduled at CONSOL Energy Center for a date to be determined later in the season.