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End of Steelers’ 2010 season could be affected by hockey plans

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The NHL’s first Winter Classic -- a January 1 open-air hockey game televised by NBC -- featured the Penguins and the Sabres (pronounced “Sab-rays”) in Buffalo. The next NHL Winter Classic could also feature the Penguins, at home.

At Heinz Field.

According to Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “things are falling into place” for the Pens to host the Washington Capitals on January 1 at the place where the Steelers play their home games.

Though Molinari says that “approximately two weeks” will be needed to build and prep an outdoor rink, Molinari also says that the Steelers are expected to host their home finale on Thursday, December 23, which would give the crew less than nine days to cover the turf with a platform coated in ice. The possibility that the Steelers will host a playoff game in the wild-card round would give the powers-that-be at least a week to restore the venue to its football configuration.

Per Molinari, PNC Park has been ruled out due to the larger seating capacity at Heinz Field. (We also think it would be more than a little embarrassing for the Penguins to draw more fans to the baseball park than the baseball team that plays there ever could.)

Either way, here’s hoping that none of the pucks flip through the air, hit the ice, and stop in place.