Leftovers: Rain issues could derail NHL game

Could the NHL be facing its first rain delay?

With the Winter Classic set for Saturday at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh and the forecast calling for temperatures in the 50s with rain, there’s talk the league might have the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals stay in their locker rooms if it’s raining too hard and turns the ice to mush.

If the conditions make the makeshift rink unplayable, the NHL has a contingency plan to move the game to Sunday.

But Don Craig, in charge of making and maintaining the ice for the Winter Classic, said he thinks as long as it’s not a monsoon and the temperatures don’t climb too high, the Heinz Field ice will hold up and it will be “Game on.”

“Anything that’s within the forecast right now, it falls down and it’s going to freeze and we’re going to be in good shape,” Craig told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The operative word here is “good.” Frozen rain will make for uneven ice.

At least Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby’s scoring run won’t be on the line. He had registered a point in 25 straight games until being shut out Wednesday in Pittsburgh’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Islanders.

■ STAY ON YOUR SIDE — For years, one of the traditions associated with the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, was a trip for the two teams across the border into Mexico, where they would be treated to dinner and a day at the bullfights in Ciudad Juarez.

But with the escalating violence in the region, that tradition ended in 2007. And don’t look for a revival this year, as Notre Dame and Miami won’t be venturing across the border before Friday’s game. Both teams took their players’ passports away to ensure there’s no after-curfew ventures into Mexico, and Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly was quoted in the Chicago Tribune warning Notre Dame fans to not venture into Mexico this week.

“Don’t go over the border or you may not come back,” Kelly said.

Ciudad Juarez is considered one of the world’s most dangerous places, with almost 3,000 murders committed this year because of the violence associated with local drug cartels.

■ PARKING VIOLATION — In the NCAA’s world of twisted logic, your father can collect $180,000 from a school and his son still can be allowed to play football, but you can’t play basketball if you purchase an on-campus parking pass from a student manager.

Vanderbilt forward Lance Goulbourne found that out the hard way when he was suspended indefinitely for purchasing a 2009-10 parking pass at no discount from a senior student manager who no longer was with the team and didn’t need the pass.

The NCAA considers the manager to be a staff member, making the pass an extra benefit to Goulbourne, a junior who is averaging 8.7 points and 6.7 rebounds.

“I don’t understand how that’s a violation, but the NCAA has its rules,” Goulbourne told the Tennessean.

Goulbourne probably missed the rule while thumbing through the breezy 419-page NCAA manual.


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