As it stands now, we are set to have by far the worst weather of any of the Winter Classics so far. After a month of freezing temperatures in Pittsburgh, they are set to have a heat wave strike just in time for the New Years Day tilt between the Penguins and Washington Capitals. The forecast is now a high of 49 degrees, a 70% chance of rain, and thunder. Yeah, you read that correctly; I looked at the page on weather.com for several minutes to make sure I wasn't going mad. This had to happen eventually, its just too bad it has to happen during what may to the most anticipated Classic thus far. The weather will surely make for less than perfect ice conditions regardless of when the game is played which, as of now, looks like it will be better suited for early on January 2nd. The ice conditions are going to make for an interesting game. The game might just actually look like that commercial where Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin are staring at each other during a monsoon (seriously, this has to be the most boring commercial for a hockey game I have ever seen).
The NHL has certainly been lucky with the weather in what has become a signature game for the league. The last two have been just about perfect, cloudy and near freezing. The cooler that makes the ice can keep it frozen in temperatures in the upper 50s, but that's not something the ice crew would really want to test. Boston had beautiful, calm weather last year while Chicago had frigid blasts of wind to deal with (though what else would you expect from the Windy City?). The weather in Buffalo was definitely interesting. The snow falling during the game added to the atmosphere and personality of the game, casting the fans into a real world snow globe. While the atmosphere was great and the fans loved it, it doesn't make for a good game when the Zambonis were on the ice just as much, if not more, than Crosby. The snow may have been annoying, but rain would be disastrous. As anybody who has participated in a pre-game skate after some jackass who has no idea what they are doing dumps too much water while cutting the ice can tell you, wet ice is shitty ice. Skating is difficult, equipment gets soaked and heavy, and the puck gets stuck to the ice like a suction cup.
Sunday looks like a good day to play, the forecast is 34 degrees and mostly cloudy, and I fully expect the game to be postponed a day. For the fourth year in a row, I'll be there, this time wearing my now famous Joe Sakic Quebec Nordiques jersey. I would love to be able to give live updates on here during the game, but I don't have a smart phone to be able to do that. However, I do have a new camera and will be posting pictures of the event on Facebook, so look for those at the end of the weekend. Whatever happens, this is sure to be an exciting game when it eventually gets underway. A few years ago, Ovechkin and Crosby both had hattricks in the same playoff game and one can only hope they, along with their talented supporting casts, give us another hard fought, exciting game in what has become the best player and team rivalry in the NHL.