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Rain Showers, Temps Could Dampen NHL Winter Classic

SidCrosby_PIT_325

MONTREAL - FEBRUARY 06: Sidney Crosby #87 of Pittsburgh Penguins waits for a pass during the NHL game against the Montreal Canadiens on February 6, 2010 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sidney Crosby2010 NHLI

PITTSBURGH -- The weather is becoming a worry for the Winter Classic.

Rain showers and temperatures in the low 50s are being forecast for the Capitals-Penguins outdoor game Saturday at Heinz Field, hardly the conditions the NHL wants for its midseason showcase featuring stars Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin.

While temperatures above freezing aren't ideal, NHL ice chief Dan Craig said they wouldn't necessarily affect the game because the 2 1/2-inch thick ice can be refrigerated at a very low temperature. Only bright sunshine could adversely affect the ice. But rain is the major worry because it would unsafe for the players even if it is falling only lightly.

Sunday's forecast is more favorable, but the NHL doesn't want to postpone the game because the Winter Classic then would be competing against NFL games for viewers -- including the Steelers' game in Cleveland.