2017 Winter Classic: Rain could delay Blackhawks vs. Blues outdoor game on Monday

Not an ideal weather forecast for a day of outdoor hockey.

The 2017 Winter Classic between the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues could be delayed due to a weather forecast that includes warm temperatures and an 80 percent chance of rain, reports Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The outdoor game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis is set for noon CT on Monday afternoon. The game will be broadcast nationally on NBC, and figures to be one of the Blackhawks’ biggest matchups of the season, at least in terms of fanfare.

But the weather forecast for St. Louis on Monday includes a temperature around 60 degrees and a high probability of rain, with some potential for thunderstorms. As the report notes, this isn’t simply an issue for fans attending the game — the weather could create dangerous playing conditions on the ice for the two teams.

However, NBC seems to be confident the delay won’t be too much of an issue. “When’s the last time you’ve had a weatherman get anything right?” NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood said to Post-Dispatch this week. “We are there to cover the game, and when the game is played we will cover it.”

The question, obviously, is when the game will actually be played. This wouldn’t be the first time that weather has caused a Winter Classic to be pushed back. Based on comments from NBC, they’ll try their best to play the game Monday, but it’s possible the game could be delayed as far back as Tuesday.

“We’ve dealt with it before, so we’ll deal with it again if we have to,” said Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports. “If we do run into rain on Monday we will stay as long as we can. We’ll play it Monday night if necessary and if we can’t get any play in on Monday, we’ll carry it over and we’ll play it on Tuesday.”

The report says that the game, if delayed to Tuesday, would be at night and broadcast on NBCSN instead of NBC.

It goes without saying that a delay would be disappointing news for the NHL. The game is usually an exciting event, and having it bumped off the big national broadcast station in favor of the smaller cable offering would likely take a chunk of the TV audience. It’d also be an inconvenience for the fans and teams, who have been planning on being at Busch Stadium on Monday afternoon.

We’ll just have to hope that the weather forecast isn’t quite right, or that we slip into that 20 percent that doesn’t get rain. Otherwise we may be hanging out Monday watching Bob Costas, Mike Milbury, and Jeremy Roenick trying to milk out dead time during delays, which sounds about 8,000 percent less entertaining.