The Winter Classic could take almost 2 months to finish if weather postpones the game

The NHL’s contingency plan for the Winter Classic at Busch Stadium is ... interesting.

The Winter Classic between the Blackhawks and Blues is set to begin at noon CT on Monday afternoon despite the potential weather problems in St. Louis. NHL officials waited until Monday morning to announce the start time for the game, but decided not to push it back even with possible rain in the forecast.

The league is staying optimistic that it’ll be able to complete the game, which is being broadcast nationally on NBC, on Monday. But what happens if the rain gets so bad that the playing conditions become dangerous and the game needs to be postponed? According to the league, via Puck Daddy, the game may not finish until Feb. 26 if things go awry.

Here are the full details:

“Once the game has begun, it may be subject to one or more temporary stoppages due to unplayable weather conditions, at the discretion of the Commissioner. Period and game format may be reconfigured to accommodate temporary stoppages as determined appropriate by the Commissioner.

In the event of high winds at the ice surface, the clubs will switch ends at the 10:00 minute mark of the third period as signaled by a “hard whistle.” The face off will take place where the play was whistled dead. This identical procedure will take place at the 2:30 minute mark of an overtime period, if needed.

In the event of a shootout, each club will determine what end they prefer to defend, which could be the same end.

If the game is started, then stopped permanently due to unplayable weather conditions, it will be deemed “official” once two periods have been played. The team leading at the time play is stopped will be declared the winner and will be awarded two points in the standings.

If the game is tied at the time play is stopped permanently, any time after two periods of play, each team will be awarded one point in the standings, with an opportunity to earn an additional point in a standard shootout format.

If weather conditions permit, the shootout will be conducted at Busch Stadium immediately after regulation play has been stopped. If weather conditions make it impossible to conduct a shootout safely at Busch Stadium, the shootout will take place at United Center on Sunday, February 26 prior to the regularly scheduled St. Louis-Chicago game, with St. Louis deemed the home club for shootout purposes only.”

So there’s a very small chance that the Blackhawks and Blues could play two periods Monday that end in a tie, then be forced to play a shootout on Feb. 26 in Chicago to determine the actual winner of the game. Yes, it’s possible that a game that began on Jan. 2 could have its result determined nearly two months later in an entirely different state.

Let’s hope they finish this game off Monday for everyone’s sake.