One word to describe the weather forecast for Saturday’s outdoor hockey game at Lincoln Financial Field is ominous.
Another is ugly.
Heavy rain is called for beginning Saturday afternoon and lasting into the evening. The Flyers and Penguins are scheduled to face off just after 8 p.m.
The NHL is "monitoring an ever-changing forecast and will not make any decisions until Friday the earliest, Saturday the latest,” said Steve Mayer, the league’s executive for events and entertainment.
Saturday’s forecast has been gloomy all week, and Mayer stressed Tuesday that the league will get word out as soon as it can — whether there is a delayed start or not.
NBC10 meteorologist Glenn “Hurricane" Schwartz said during Thursday’s late-morning newscast that the Philadelphia area could expect about an inch of precipitation, putting the game “in jeopardy because of that late rain.”
Rain makes for dangerous ice conditions for the players, and the resulting condensation can steam up their visors.
Pushing the game to 6 p.m. Sunday seems to be the NHL’s easiest option. There will be an 8 p.m. Michael Buble concert at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday, so the earlier start would help with traffic congestion in the stadium area.
A 6 p.m. faceoff also would allow NBC to avoid competing fully with the Oscars, which will start at 8 p.m. on 6ABC. From 6 to 9 p.m., NBC has news and taped broadcasts of an Ellen DeGeneres special. The Sunday afternoon forecast calls for dry but windy conditions, with temperatures possibly reaching the 60s. That could be too warm for the hockey game, but that’s another problem.
Meanwhile, all the NHL can do is hope for a sudden change to Saturday’s predicted weather.
“We will message early enough for the fans attending the game,” Mayer said Thursday.