NEW YORK - With a 70 percent chance of rain looming in Boston for tomorrow's Winter Classic, speculation has begun to grow about whether the NHL would choose to move the much-anticipated outdoor game at Fenway Park to Saturday.
The NHL said Tuesday that it hopes to make a decision today about the game, rather than wait until tomorrow and have fans trek to Fenway for a game that isn't going to be played.
"I think it all depends on the weather forecast," NHL VP of events Don Renzulli said Tuesday. "If we think there is a good chance we can get this game in, we'll do everything in our power to do that."
Comcast-Spectacor president Peter Luukko knows fickle New England winter weather well. A native of Auburn, Mass., Luukko grew up playing pond hockey.
"Being from New England, you never know what the weather is going to be," Luukko said. "I spoke with [NHL commissioner] Gary Bettman [yesterday] morning and he's keeping me abreast of what the forecast is. The plan, obviously, is to play.
"I think it depends on what the weather really is. They seem to think that maybe there is going to be a nice window for the game. But they've also told me the weather forecast has changed three times in 3 days."
Saturday is the Winter Classic's official rain date - and there's a chance the weather might not be much better.
The current forecast calls for rain and/or freezing rain until 6 p.m. tomorrow with a high of 38 degrees, and snow all day Saturday with a high of 33.
Neither situation is ideal. Both would wreak havoc on the NHL's pristine ice surface that spans from first to third base in the 97-year-old stadium.
"It looks like it may get in," Luukko said. "But then they're saying bad weather may come in that night. You never do know."
If the game is not played on either day, the Winter Classic would be scrapped and moved back indoors to the TD Garden sometime in March or April.
Peter Luukko said the Flyers were able to accommodate every season ticketholder who applied for tickets to the Winter Classic. The Flyers were only allotted 5,000 tickets for Fenway Park, which is arranged to hold around 40,000 fans for hockey. They needed to include players' families, staff, sponsors and fans within that number.
"We were able to actually take care of all of our season ticketholders and use up all of our allotment," Luukko said. "It made everybody happy, which is a win-win for us."
The Flyers had a lottery - which received "a lot of entries" - for fans without season tickets, who Luukko said did receive a limited number of tickets.
The NHL held its own lottery for tickets and received more than 307,000 entries. Standing-room-only tickets have been going for $350 on the secondary market. Seats on top of the Green Monster have been selling for $5,000 and up.