Good News, Bad News for Penguins Ahead of Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic

The Pittsburgh Penguins and their fans received a late Christmas present on Friday morning, with Head Coach Dan Bylsma announcing that center Jordan Staal, yet to play a game this season due to a lingering combination of foot and hand injuries, will be a game-time decision for tomorrow’s Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

After severing a tendon in his right foot during the Penguins’ second round playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens last spring, Staal was on the verge of finally returning to the lineup in early November when he broke his hand after being hit by a wayward puck during practice, an injury which ultimately required surgery to repair. But with Bylsma’s announcement today, it certainly appears as though “Staalsy’s” unfathomable string of luck with his health (or lack thereof) may have finally reached its conclusion.

However, as a wise man once said, with all good news comes bad news.

The National Hockey League also announced today that the puckdrop for tomorrow’s Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Heinz Field, originally slated for 1 PM EST, will be pushed back to 8 PM EST due to troubling weather concerns.

The latest meteorological reports for the Pittsburgh area indicate that there will be a steady rainfall throughout the day, which would make the makeshift ice surface at Heinz Field completely unplayable and unsafe for game action. With the anticipated rainfall expected to fade out over the course of the evening, the air and in around Heinz Field will also be significantly cooler and drier before the newly-scheduled 8 PM start.


Adam Reid's picture

Wow, Staal is finally going to return to the Pens lineup? Thats certainly a boost to the Penguins lineup (as if they needed it).

The 8pm start cannot be that bad, I mean, it will allow teams which are use to playing evening games to fall into their normal routine, rather than prepare for the game on the fly, making it more interested, and less likely seeing a goal 20 seconds in like every other year, and then settling in.

Quinn Mell-Cobb's picture

I'm personally very excited for a primetime Winter Classic. Playing outdoors under the lights is going to be a thrilling experience for the players and a dazzling spectacle for the fans, they're definitely kicking off 2011 the right way.

By the way, an update to Jordan Staal's status, he IS now officially playing tonight.

George Prax's picture

I was excited to wake up to New Year's afternoon hockey... there was going to be a liveblog and everything. I don't think it will be the same at 8PM but it will still hopefully be a fun game.