Would that this coming weekend’s Winter Classic had the problems much of the East Coast does this morning: too much winter wonderland. Instead, forecasts for New Years weekend in the western Pennsylvania Industrial Cesspool are calling for temps in the 50s and steady rain. Great. At least the out-of-towners won’t have to worry about wet mullets slapping the backs of their necks.
Today’s Pittsburgh Tribune Review offers a disheartening overview of the situation:
“According to AccuWeather, Saturday’s high temperature will be 53 degrees. The normal high for Jan. 1 is 36 degrees. The forecast calls for a high of 41 degrees Sunday.
“Unseasonably warm temperatures are not a primary concern because of an elaborate refrigeration system that cools the outdoor ice rink, NHL operations facilities manager Dan Craig told the Tribune-Review last week . . .
“Steady rain, however, can cause problems. It won’t immediately freeze, and the accumulating water could flood the rink’s surface, Craig said. After the water does freeze, it could create an uneven surface, possibly risking the players’ safety, he said.”
Unlike last year, when the Winter Classic was played in Fenway Park, the NHL has a very short window of opportunity with which to carry off this year’s game. Quite simply, the Steelers need their field back for the NFL playoffs. Today the NHL clarified its options should poor weather settle upon Pittsburgh as forecast: if Saturday’s a washout, the game gets moved to Sunday. And should Sunday be lost as well? The outdoor game gets jettisoned, and will be made up later on in the season indoors as the new Consol Energy Center.