ST. LOUIS – Greetings from foggy, misty St. Louis, where the 2017 NHL Winter Classic will hopefully be played within the next 48 hours.
The NHL decided on Monday morning to keep the start time of the game at noon central time, which was its original start time. But in doing so, and with the potential for poor weather conditions on Jan. 2 and 3 in the area, the NHL also spelled out some interesting contingency plans for the game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the St. Louis Blues.
Including one in which the game would be finished in Chicago, nearly two months later.
From the NHL:
Once the game has begun, it may be subject to one or more temporary stoppages due to unplayable weather conditions, at the discretion of the Commissioner. Period and game format may be reconfigured to accommodate temporary stoppages as determined appropriate by the Commissioner.
In the event of high winds at the ice surface, the clubs will switch ends at the 10:00 minute mark of the third period as signaled by a “hard whistle.” The face off will take place where the play was whistled dead. This identical procedure will take place at the 2:30 minute mark of an overtime period, if needed.
In the event of a shootout, each club will determine what end they prefer to defend, which could be the same end.
If the game is started, then stopped permanently due to unplayable weather conditions, it will be deemed “official” once two periods have been played. The team leading at the time play is stopped will be declared the winner and will be awarded two points in the standings.
Now, before we go on, players like Duncan Keith of the Blackhawks have lamented that they’ve played significant opponents in outdoor games, i.e. divisional ones where the points really matter. “Obviously, you separate everything, the distractions, that surround these games, and it’s a tough two points against a big opponent,” he told us on Sunday.
We can’t imagine losing a game without having played three periods will be pleasing to either of these Central Division foes.
We continue with the NHL:
If the game is tied at the time play is stopped permanently, any time after two periods of play, each team will be awarded one point in the standings, with an opportunity to earn an additional point in a standard shootout format.
If weather conditions permit, the shootout will be conducted at Busch Stadium immediately after regulation play has been stopped. If weather conditions make it impossible to conduct a shootout safely at Busch Stadium, the shootout will take place at United Center on Sunday, February 26 prior to the regularly scheduled St. Louis-Chicago game, with St. Louis deemed the home club for shootout purposes only.
So if there’s a shootout, and they ice isn’t safe enough for the shootout, it will take place in a different city on Feb. 26, before another game. Wacky!
Would that qualify the Winter Classic as the longest outdoor game in NHL history?
From the NHL:
If the game is started, and stopped permanently due to unplayable weather conditions, and fewer than two periods of regular time has been played, the game will be officially “postponed” and, if possible, will be played in its entirety at Busch Stadium on Tuesday, January 3. If the game cannot be replayed at Busch Stadium on January 3, it will be rescheduled at Scottrade Center for a date to be determined later in the season.
So, in summary: Let’s hope they get the entire thing done on Monday and save everybody the headaches.
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