The NHL is weighing whether to delay the game to allow for better ice conditions:
A Winter Classic with sunglasses? With a halftime in the first period? Or delayed for a couple of hours on account of, well, gorgeous weather?Good luck to them. Hockey in the States can use all the help it can get.
Those were among the options discussed Wednesday as the NHL faced the prospect of playing its showcase outdoor game on a bright, sunny New Year's Day in the nation's capital.
"Nobody wants to delay the game," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. "So if there's any way we can avoid delaying the game, we're going to avoid delaying the game."
Faceoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Nationals Park for the game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals. The forecast calls for lots of sun and few clouds -- and therefore lots of glare on the sheet of ice -- with a high temperature in the low 40s.
"It would be more of a player-safety issue," Daly said. "The glare, if you're having trouble picking up the puck, I think there'd be a concern."
The Capitals found that out during Wednesday's midday practice, when the ice was soft at one corner of the rink and the puck was sometimes hard to see. They tried various forms of eye black, a seemingly appropriate attire for an event taking place on a baseball field.
"It was pretty bad," defenseman Mike Green said. "Once you got on the ice and were skating around, it took about five or 10 minutes for guys to adjust, and it wasn't easy to see pucks on the ice. It should be tough on the goalies if that's the case tomorrow."
Defenseman Karl Alzner stood out by wearing a pair of ordinary sunglass. He said he'll wear them again Thursday if allowed -- a member of the league's hockey operations department confirmed to ESPN.com's Katie Strang they they will be -- because they made a world of difference.
"That actually might be the way to go," defenseman Nate Schmidt said. "If it comes to it, you might see a lot more guys wearing them.