The 2014 Stadium Series concludes Saturday when the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks host the Pittsburgh Penguins outdoors at Soldier Field.
But if the weather conditions create a less-than-ideal environment for the players and fans, the NHL isn’t afraid to postpone the game.
“It would have to make it unsafe, either too cold in terms of medical concerns or if it was such that the ice wasn’t able to be kept appropriately so that it would be safe for the players,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told Scott Powers of ESPN Chicago.
“We have all sorts of Plan B’s. I would prefer to not to dwell on them.”
Luckily for both teams, they have experience playing in outdoor games with cold weather. The Blackhawks hosted the rival Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field in the 2009 Winter Classic, while the Penguins participated in the 2008 and 2011 Winter Classics against the Buffalo Sabres and Washington Capitals, respectively.
The latest forecast from Accuweather calls for a high of 25 degrees and a low of 10 degrees at the 8 p.m. ET start time, with close to a 70 percent chance of snow. Powers notes that a Sunday or Monday makeup date would work for both teams based on schedules.
The league has only had to postpone one outdoor game (2011 Winter Classic between the Capitals and Penguins in Pittsburgh) since it began staging them on an annual basis in 2008.