Tag: weather problems

Alex Ovechkin

Winter Classic post game reactions to Washington’s 3-1 win over Pittsburgh

After what turned out to be an incredible night of hockey outdoors at Heinz Field, albeit a bit on the soggy side, the Capitals came away with a 3-1 win to send their fans home happy and the homestanding fans away feeling gloomy.

As for the game, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was disappointed with the loss but the first question that came to him was about the controversial hit he took from David Steckel at the end of the second period. If you’re wondering why there was no retribution for the Pens captain getting taken out, Sid says there’s a good reason.

“I just found out two seconds ago who it was. I couldn’t even tell you what happened. I think the puck was going the other way. And I turned and next thing you know, I am down. I can’t really comment on it,” Crosby said.

Crosby was unhurt by the hit but recounted the situation not really sure how dirty the hit was, if at all.

“It’s pretty far behind the play. Maybe the refs didn’t see it. A lot of people didn’t. Got [hit] in my head, that’s for sure. But I don’t know how it developed.”

As for the victorious Capitals, their post game chatter was much more jubilant and blown away by the entire setting outdoors in front of 68,111 fans, even more so with the heavy representation of Caps fans in Pittsburgh.

“You can see, you can hear when we score goals how many people were fans of Washington,” Alex Ovechkin happily recalled.

“When it was the National Anthem, and they are screaming… It was unbelievable.”

Caps coach Bruce Boudreau added to that sentiment.

“When you walk and you see all those people in there and whether they’re booing or cheering, it’s an experience I’ll never forget. And when you come into this atmosphere and you’re playing arguably the best team in the league and you win, it was more than just a game to everybody.”

With the weather conditions being as seemingly difficult as they were, none of the players or coaches had any complaints about what went down tonight. They made it clear that it was affecting both teams so no one got an unfair advantage out of it. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman made it clear that the NHL did everything in their power to ensure the integrity of the ice and the game.

“We (Bettman, Colin Campbell, Dan Craig) were at every stoppage, in communication with the officials and both teams and no one was complaining about it.”

Bettman then added this bit that’s likely to get over analyzed by everyone:

“And I’ve heard ice complaints when we’re indoors in a lot of places as well. I think we were fine, just fine.”

The weather tonight is going to be more of a talking point than the game and that’s really disappointing, all things considered, but it wasn’t an issue for the guys playing. Period.

The rain did create issues for the fans in the stands for sure and the elements are a virtually unavoidable aspect in a game like this, but the commissioner does make a good point about the pace of the game. Yes, the passes weren’t as crisp as you’d expect and the offensive creativity was missing in this environment but the teams adjusted to make it work for them. You make the best with what you’ve got and the Capitals certainly did that tonight.

In that respect it makes it similar to playing in a building when it’s 90 degrees outside and the ice is soft and choppy. The speed gets cut down and teams have to win games a bit dirtier than with finesse and skill. For some teams that works in their favor and not so much for others. For teams as good as Washington and Pittsburgh, they could make the right adjustments.

All in all, both teams were grateful for the experience to play tonight both coaches made it clear that having this experience makes it all worthwhile. Basking in the atmosphere here tonight was unlike anything I’ve ever seen and it left as much of an impression on me as it did with the players. All right, not quite as much as celebrating a win or playing in front of that many home fans but memorable just the same.

What happens if weather interferes with Winter Classic mid-game?

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With the 2011 Winter Classic being delayed until 8:00 pm on New Year’s Day thanks to bad weather during the afternoon, the questions now turn to what happens if the weather turns bad during the game itself. The NHL is prepared with solutions for how to ensure that a game that’s started gets a proper outcome. Whether or not fans find those outcomes to be proper will be up for debate.

According to the NHL, once a game has begun it may be subjected to one or more temporary stoppages due to unplayable weather conditions. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has the final say as to whether or not the game is held up. Commissioner Bettman can also reconfigure the period and game format as needed. Teams changing ends at the 10:00 minute mark of the third period to make things fairer for both teams should the conditions dictate isn’t unfounded. Doing this allows for both teams to see the same amount of time overall on each end of the ice.

Where things get interesting is if the game is started and then stopped permanently because of the weather. If two periods have been played, the game is technically official. If one team is ahead, they’ll earn the win and get two points. If the game is tied, however, each team will get a point and then conduct a shootout to decide the winner. There won’t be an overtime period in this situation.

If the weather is so bad that even a shootout is considered too dangerous to do, then they’ll conduct the shootout on Feb. 6 prior to the start of the Pens-Caps game at Verizon Center in Washington. I can’t imagine this would cause too much of an uproar for Penguins fans to lose the home ice advantage.

Of course, if the game is started and permanently stopped before the second period is over, the game will be “postponed” and, if at all possible, be played on January 2nd in its entirety. Fantasy hockey teams could get ruined pretty hard if it turns into a goal fest early on only to have it postponed. It’s a special set of circumstances, but if you’re thinking the NHL isn’t prepared for this – think again.

NHL announces Winter Classic start time moved to 8 p.m.

Winter Classic Hockey

The NHL is delaying the start time of the 2011 Winter Classic. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly broke the news on the NHL Network that the Winter Classic start time would be moved to 8 p.m. on Jan. 1 because of warm weather and the threat of rain. The possibility of a time change had been talked about all week and discussion picked up even more today when the weather forecast didn’t improve at all.

As for the competition the Winter Classic will now face in prime time TV, with it being college football bowl season, the main competition is the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl featuring Oklahoma and UConn. While delaying the start of the game is a bit of a bummer, going up against that bowl game in particular is a bit of a blessing in disguise.

Rather than an early afternoon start, getting to play the game under the lights at Heinz Field offers the opportunity to make the rink and the game really shine on the big stage.

Report: Winter Classic could be pushed back to prime time evening start

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The weather has been a hot topic for the past week leading up to the 2011 Winter Classic and if reports are to be believed, this year’s game might be getting a later start than scheduled.

With unseasonably warm temperatures and a high likelihood of rain and even thunderstorms moving into Pittsburgh tomorrow afternoon, the NHL might be changing the start time for the Winter Classic from 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Katie Carrera of The Washington Post has the report.

The latest weather reports predict about 0.5″ of rain in Pittsburgh between Saturday morning and afternoon, with 80 percent of it falling before 1 p.m. It should taper off around 3-4 p.m., theoretically giving Winter Classic officials time to get the ice ready for faceoff.

NHL officials have been keeping a close eye on the weather updates and Carrera also reports that the NHL will have a decision made by 5:00 pm about what will happen. As it is, the weather today in Pittsburgh was in the low 50s and it felt very warm at field level and it showed on the ice during the Alumni Game and during both team practices. Soft ice is no good for the speed of the game as well as for the ability of the pucks to move and goalies to to play effective in their crease.

We’ll keep you up to date on what happens here in Pittsburgh as it happens.

Update: NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly will have an update at 5:00 pm as to what the NHL will do.