League could postpone Hawks-Pens

Updated: March 1, 2014, 3:44 PM ET
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- The NHL could postpone the outdoor game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field on Saturday night if weather conditions make the event unsafe, commissioner Gary Bettman said Friday.

"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," Bettman said.

The nighttime temperature for Saturday is expected to be 8 degrees with the wind chill making it feel like minus-8, according to ABC7 in Chicago. There's also a chance of snow in the late afternoon.

Bettman would not go into details about whether the game could be played Sunday or Monday instead. Neither team is scheduled to play again until Tuesday.

"We have all sorts of Plan B's," Bettman said. "I would prefer to not to dwell on them."

Bettman thought Saturday's conditions could be similar to those of the 2014 Winter Classic, when the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs played in a wind chill of zero, 10 mph winds and snow at the University of Michigan.

"We played on New Year's Day before over 100,000 people at the Big House, and I think it was in the single digits and it snowed, and it was great," Bettman said. "As long as we can keep the conditions competitive and safe, it'll be a lot of fun. You know people in Chicago are very hearty. They know how to dress for the winter. And our expectation is everyone will layer up and be ready to have fun for a few hours."

Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz said he's concerned about the weather only if it rains.

"Because just think," Wirtz said, "you drink with ice in it, it doesn't last too long."

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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