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NHL not worrying about Classic weather issues yet

by Dan Rosen /
PITTSBURGH -- NHL Senior Vice President of Events Don Renzulli said Tuesday afternoon that he's getting forecasts for Saturday that include scattered showers and a high of 54 degrees, but it's still way too early for the League to consider delaying or postponing the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, scheduled for 1 p.m. ET on New Year's Day.

"All these maps are different," Renzulli told "I looked at one on and there is a channel coming all the way through the country that has Pittsburgh pegged right in the middle and it's just all green. (Monday) it said there was rain on Jan. 2, but today there it says no rain on the second and it's supposed to be clear and 30. A little movement either way and I think we can either catch it the day before or the day after. Or there could be a window on game day."

Renzulli said he and Facilities Operations Manager Dan Craig have talked about contingency plans with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, COO John Collins and Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell. However, they won't be able to present a clear picture to the League's executive staff until Thursday, when they'll start receiving daily rain patterns for the weekend.

"Based on today's forecast we wouldn't make a call until Saturday," Renzulli said. "Dan can handle rain and he said the Zambonis can absorb or suck up water. As long as we're not getting downpours I think we're going to be OK. There is some player safety in there with water on their visors and things like that, but it's going to be all communicated prior (to the game) with the GMs."

Renzulli stressed the wait-and-see approach.

"I'm getting e-mails from people in Pittsburgh that I know saying if the weathermen say it's going to rain you better get your sunglasses out because it's wrong," Renzulli said. "It's typical stuff, but still, we've got days. Once we get within 48 hours and we start to see weather patterns of when this is going to hit, it's a lot easier. To sit here today and say there is a 50-percent chance of precipitation, well, that also means there is a 50-percent chance of no precipitation. It's a roll of the dice right now."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl.
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