2023 Winter Classic weather: Latest forecast, ice conditions at Fenway Park

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2023 Winter Classic weather: Latest forecast, ice conditions at Fenway Park originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

BOSTON -- Staging any outdoor NHL game is a challenge because you never know what kind of conditions Mother Nature is going to throw at you. The 2023 Winter Classic is shaping up to be an interesting event from a weather perspective.

Normally, it would be pretty cold and windy on a Jan. 2 afternoon in Boston. But that's not expected to be the case when the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins square off in the league's marquee regular season game Monday afternoon at Fenway Park.

NBC 10 Boston's weather forecast shows temperatures around 50 degrees around the 2 p.m. ET puck drop. Those temperatures could drop to about 47 or 45 degrees by the end of the game. There's a very, very small chance of rain (one to three percent) and partly cloudy skies are expected.

The league will monitor the ice closely and can change its temperature if weather challenges come up.

"We've got the equipment in place where we can monitor," NHL senior director of facilities and hockey operations Derek King said before the Bruins practiced at the Fenway Park rink Sunday afternoon.

"We know the weather that is coming, we know that we'll be in the 50s, so we can plan ahead and can get that sheet a little bit colder and we can make adjustments throughout the evening and throughout the day right through game time."

Nick Goss/NBC Sports Boston

Rain on Saturday presented a challenge for the crews working on the ice, but everything ran smoothly for Sunday's practices and family skates. With no rain in the forecast for Monday, one of the potential issues is warmer-than-expected weather negatively impacting the ice, and maybe some glare off the ice as well.

"We'll cover the sheet tonight and then we'll watch what weather we're going to get tonight," King said. "We'll keep it covered right up until the very last minute. We have that plan in place to uncover really close to warmup, and we'll see what Mother Nature throws at us tomorrow."

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Even though many of these players have plenty of experience playing outdoors, either as kids or at the NHL level, these types of games are still a little unpredictable in regards to the conditions.

How do players adjust their style of play as a result?

"You just have to keep it simple," Bruins forward Brad Marchand said. "Try to keep pucks away from the top of the blue line, keep it in deep as much as you can and play straightforward hockey. The more passes you try to make, there's a good chance it's going to blow up on you at some point. Just have that shot mentality and keeping pucks away from the blue line should help."

Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery liked what he saw from the ice Sunday and is optimistic about the conditions Monday.

"I thought the rink was great," Montgomery said after practice. "The ice -- we were the first people to skate on it. It was good today. It's only going to get better. It's going to be an opportunity to put in a good performance and show off our league."