Getty

Winter Classic forecast: Mild temperatures, light rain and a possible thunderstorm

The latest weather forecasts for Monday’s Winter Classic between the Chicago Blackhawks and host St. Louis Blues at Busch Stadium doesn’t look promising.

Puck drop between the two Central Division rivals is right now scheduled for just after 1 p.m. ET.

Light rain is still in the forecast, per the Weather Network. Temperatures are expected to reach into the 50s. And, on Sunday, it was reported there is the possibility for much worse weather, too.

The latest from AccuWeather:

“A mild day is in store for the Winter Classic in St. Louis. Temperatures reaching well into the 50s will make it difficult for maintenance to keep the ice rink frozen,” Rathbun said. “Rain will also fall, which will lead to ponding of water on the rink and difficult playing conditions.”

The amount of rain is questionable as there are indications that the heaviest rain may slide just to the south and east of St. Louis.

“There is the likelihood of a couple of showers during the afternoon, even if the heaviest rain stays away,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski. “A thunderstorm is possible as well.”

In the event of unplayable conditions Monday, the big event could be moved to Tuesday, when there is less rain and cooler temperatures in the forecast.

“We’ve dealt with it before, so we’ll deal with it again if we have to,” said NBC Sports’ president of programming, Jon Miller, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“If we do run into rain we will stay as long as we can. We’ll play it Monday night if necessary. And if we can’t get any play in on Monday, we’ll carry it over and we’ll play it on Tuesday. We’re hopeful that everything cooperates. We’ve all been looking at the weather, we’re all well aware of what the pitfalls are.”

Scroll Down For:

    WATCH LIVE: Pittsburgh Penguins vs Los Angeles Kings

    Getty Images
    Leave a comment

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

    PROJECTED LINES

    Pittsburgh Penguins

    Dominik SimonSidney Crosby — Daniel Sprong

    Carl HagelinEvgeni MalkinPatric Hornqvist

    Conor ShearyJake GuentzelPhil Kessel

    Tom KuhnhacklRiley SheahanRyan Reaves

    Brian DumoulinKris Letang

    Olli MaattaJustin Schultz

    Matt HunwickJamie Oleksiak

    Starting goalie: Tristan Jarry

    [NHL on NBCSN doubleheader: Sabres vs. Rangers; Penguins vs. Kings]

    Los Angeles Kings

    Adrian KempeAnze KopitarDustin Brown

    Tanner PearsonTrevor LewisTyler Toffoli

    Alex IafalloNick ShoreMarian Gaborik

    Kyle Clifford — Michael Amadio — Jonny Brodzinski

    Derek ForbortDrew Doughty

    Jake MuzzinAlec Martinez

    Kevin Gravel — Christian Folin

    Starting goalie: Jonathan Quick

    Eric Lindros’ famed No. 88 retired in Philadelphia

    2 Comments

    No. 88 has always hung from the rafters in the minds of Philadelphia Flyers fans.

    The organization seemed to revere it as well. No one but Eric Lindros has ever worn the number.

    And on Thursday night in the City of Brotherly Love, those fans could finally see it with their own eyes.

    The Big E’s famous No. 88 in Flyers orange and black was retired at Wells Fargo Center, raised to hang next to the names of Bernie Parent, Mark Howe, Barry Ashbee, Bill Barber and Bobby Clarke.

    “Without any doubt, this is the highest honor the organization can bestow on one of its members,” said Flyers president Paul Holmgren, who addressed the packed house. “Take a look at the rafters, only five players out of 600 to have ever worn the orange and black, and now that number will be six.

    “When we raise your number in a few moments, know you’re back where you belong, and this time, it’s forever.”

    Moments earlier, Lindros stood at center ice, waving at the standing ovation that engulfed the arena that encircled him.

    “Wow. Haha. This is crazy,” Lindros said, peering out into the sea of orange and black as he followed Holmgren at the center-ice podium. 

    “It’s no secret that when I left Philadelphia, it was under less than ideal circumstances,” Lindros said, crediting Holmgren and his wife Kina with helping him move.

    Lindros sat out the entire 2000-01 season due to a contract dispute with Clarke and the organization.

    Lindros was crushed by Scott Stevens in the playoffs in the previous season and was only cleared to play the following December. The Flyers had offered, and Lindros refused a two-way qualifying offer. Lindros, instead, wanted to be traded, with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs the preferred destination after his once-strong relationship with Clarke had deteriorated. Clarke refused to trade him at first, but finally did so in the following offseason, not to Toronto, but to the New York Rangers in the summer of 2001.

    “Both, in their own ways, have taught me to move on, put in the past any differences of opinion, any hard feelings,” Lindros said. “It was time to remember the great moments I experienced here in Philadelphia, the friendships I’ve built in this great city and the respect I have for the fans of this team.”

    Lindros was a member of the ‘Legion of Doom,’ a line that consisted of John LeClair and Mikael Renberg that dominated opponents and altered the game of hockey in the 1990s. Lindros acknowledged several people, including former general manager Russ Farwell, who brought Lindros, Mark Recchi and Rob Brind’Amour into the team and drafted Mikael Renberg.

    Lindros also thanked Clarke, and said LeClair should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

    Lindros was one of the most physically gifted and dominating players to ever play in the NHL, a man who towered over most, skated better than most and score better than most.

    Lindros won the Hart Trophy during the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season. He played 486 games in Flyers threads, scoring 290 goals and amassing 659 points.

    In 2016, Lindros was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.


    Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

    Roberto Luongo could return to practice soon

    Getty Images
    Leave a comment

    The mandatory off week for the Florida Panthers appears to have done wonders for injured goaltender Roberto Luongo.

    The Panthers No. 1 netminder has “turned a corner” as he continues to rehab a lower-body injury, Panthers head coach Bob Boughner said on Thursday.

    The Panthers practiced for the first time since their mandatory break on Thursday, and although Luongo is still on pace for a return early next month, the news was good to hear for a team nine points adrift of the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference.

    “I think he’s turned a corner a little bit,” Boughner told reporters after the team’s practice. “He’s showing some good improvement here in the last few days. We’re excited to hopefully get him back out on the ice during a practice at some upcoming point.”

    Luongo hasn’t played since Dec. 4, when he was injured in a 5-4 shootout loss to the New York Islanders.

    The news of Luongo’s pending return was probably a little music to the ears of James Reimer.

    Reimer has started Florida’s past 16 games, posting an 8-6-2 record with .924 save percentage during that span, but ran into the break losing four of his previous five starts.

    Still, Reimer has performed admirably in Luongo’s absence, as he bounced back from an unfavorable start to the season that saw Luongo regain the starter’s reins.

    The Panthers will have five games in-hand on Pittsburgh Penguins, who entered Thursday occupying the final spot. They play the Los Angeles Kings live on NBCSN at 10 p.m. ET.

    The Panthers return to action on Friday when they host the visiting Vegas Golden Knights.

    Reimer is expected to start No. 17.

    WATCH LIVE: Buffalo Sabres at New York Rangers

    Getty
    Leave a comment

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

    PROJECTED LINES

    Buffalo Sabres

    Benoit PouliotJack EichelKyle Okposo

    Evander KaneRyan O'ReillyJason Pominville

    Zemgus GirgensonsEvan RodriguesSam Reinhart

    Scott WilsonJohan LarssonJordan Nolan

    Marco ScandellaRasmus Ristolainen

    Jake McCabeJustin Falk

    Josh Gorges — Casey Nelson

    Starting goalie: Robin Lehner

    [NHL on NBCSN doubleheader: Sabres vs. Rangers; Penguins vs. Kings]

    New York Rangers

    Rick NashMika ZibanejadPavel Buchnevich

    Mats ZuccarelloJ.T. Miller — Vinni Lettieri

    Jimmy VeseyDavid DesharnaisPaul Carey

    Michael Grabner — Peter Holland — Jesper Fast

    Ryan McDonaghNick Holden

    Brady SkjeiKevin Shattenkirk

    Brendan SmithSteven Kampfer

    Starting goalie: Henrik Lundqvist