The Winter Classic is coming up.
There's one problem. I have a feeling the word Winter should be put in quotation marks, because the weather looks awful. As of Thursday afternoon, the National Weather Service is forecasting a high of 51 degrees, and a 70% chance of showers. According to several sources, rain is not good for the ice surface.
The NHL has said if it can't be played on New Year's Day, it would be played the day after. Luckily for them, Mother Nature says mostly cloudy with a high of 35 degrees. That's better, but it's no true "Winter Classic".
In years past, the WC has been in Boston, Chicago and Buffalo. There's a key and significant similarity between these locations--they are consistently cold. With it a little bit more south than in years' past, the NHL took a gamble on it being a little warmer, and with questionable weather as a side effect.
The choice to have it in Buffalo in the midst of lake effect snow season was genius.
Problem is, that created expectations beyond what's conceivably possible. It should be snowing. It should be freezing cold. But it shouldn't feel like Spring and it shouldn't be raining. For the NHL, this is a disaster. If it doesn't happen on New Year's Day, that alone, I feel is a disaster. If the NHL were smart in this instance, they should start putting the rain date in their advertisements. If someone turns on NBC when the game were on and they see other programming, they won't know what happened.
Let the fans that aren't privy to that information know that it will be played the next day. I'm not sure why the NHL hasn't said that at all yet. That may be partially because they aren't counting their chickens before they hatch. Either way, it should have crossed their mind at this point.
A few suggestions for next year...pick a more established rivalry, not a manufactured rivalry. And pick a better location. I could go on about how the League should spread the wealth in different teams instead of having Pittsburgh twice, but if anything, I just feel like they should have picked a better location. Stay north. The mid-atlantic is a mess this time of year.
What are your thoughts?