WASHINGTON — Sun’s out, game on.
Despite concerns about sunshine on the playing surface and glare issues, the 2015 Winter Classic at Nationals Park will begin on time — 1 p.m. ET — as originally scheduled, per TVA.
In an effort to minimize the “glare effect,” the Capitals and Blackhawks will switch ends at the 10-minute mark of the first period to share the sunshine, per Sportsnet.
Yesterday, there was growing sentiment the NHL would postpone the start of its annual outdoor affair, much like it did in 2012 at Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia. That game, which was also scheduled for a 1 p.m. puck drop, was pushed back to 3 p.m. amid similar issues with sun and glare.
It’ll be interesting to see how today’s game unfolds.
On Tuesday, Capitals players practiced at 11:30 a.m. — without a hint of shadow on the playing surface — and expressed some concern with the playing conditions.
Defenseman Mike Green talked about the “big time” glare coming off the outdoor surface that made things difficult compared to playing indoors.
“That was probably the hardest part about it,” said Green. “The reflection off the ice. But after five or 10 minutes, your eyes adjust and you can kind of cope with it.”
Caps forward Jay Beagle said much of the same.
“Obviously with the sun, the glare — it was a little bit tough to see the pucks moving fast,” he explained. “It’d be a little bit tough to play if we played at one o’clock, with just the way the glare was.”
Despite those concerns, the NHL was steadfast in its desire to start the game on time — possibly in an effort to avoid going up against the Rose Bowl, which will kick off at 4:30 p.m. ET.
“A delay, and hopefully there won’t be one, would be a minimal delay,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said on Tuesday. “Nobody wants to delay the game.
“If there’s any way we can avoid delaying the game, we’re going to avoid delaying the game.”