“Frozen in the Moment” by !dragonmmho

The Washington Capitals are set to announce that they’ll be hosting the 2015 Winter Classic at Caps Con on Saturday. That’s all we know so far. We don’t know where it’ll be or against whom they’ll play or if HBO’s cameras will completely ruin the team again.

Personally, I’m most keen to figure out who will be at the other end of the ice on that inevitably-balmy January afternoon.

Who will the Capitals play at the 2015 Winter Classic?

The Usual Suspects

Penguins: The Pens are the Capitals’ biggest rivals, and Sid vs Ovi is always good for some pageviews and Neilsen points– even after Sid’s injury and Ovi’s decline. But the Pens have been to the W.C. dance twice already. Pass.

Flyers: Until Pittsburgh made an annual tradition of knocking the Caps out of the playoffs in the 90s, Washington’s big Patrick Division rival was Philadelphia. Again, they’ve recently had their own Winter Classic as well. I’ll say no.

Bruins: The Big Bad B’s have been the East’s most successful team in recent years, and they have the Original Six pedigree. They’ll look good in another Classic. Perhaps too good.

Rangers: Please, no. Even with Torts gone, the Capitals don’t need so see this team anymore. Games between the Rangers and the Capitals are wearying and tense, like getting the trots and hunting down a bathroom at Virgin FreeFest.

The Dark Horses

Islanders: An up-and-coming team that will soon move to a major market. John Tavares is going to steal Ovechkin’s perch atop the scoring pile soon, so the old-and-new struggle would make for good drama. Could be compelling if the team actually drops some cash on its roster.

Hurricanes: Sasha vs. Sasha. The Staalpocalypse. Cam Ward in a knit cap. You know you want it.

Ducks: That’ll get Selanne to stick around for another year, plus imagine the Ducks throwback jersey!

Kings: L.A. plays the style of hockey I wish the Caps would play. By 2015, they’ll probably have an Olympic gold medalist in net. They’d stomp the Caps, but it’d be good television.

Predators: Matt Hendricks would get like zero ice time, and Filip Forsberg would probably score a hat trick. No fan is up for that kind of punishment.

Devils: If he can make it to January 2015, I’d love to see Brodeur’s last stand lit up under DC’s blighted skies.

No, Just No

Red Wings and Maple Leafs: They’ll have their shot in January 2014 at the Big House. Two teams with massive audiences. Two teams in decline, both fawned over by the league. Their time in the limelight is limited.

Stupid Canada

Canadiens: Video producers would be combing through the old 2010 playoff film for the next 15 months. At this point, the playoff trauma of facing the Rangers so much has finally supplanted by memories of the Habs coming back against the Caps way back when.

Senators: A small-market Canadien team that is probably better than the Habs and the Leafs. The Battle of the Capital Cities. Could be cool.

Jets: Meh, to me they’re still just the Thrashers in a new kit. There was never a real rivalry between the teams even when they shared a division, and they only thing to latch on to here is how much Evander Kane pwns the Caps.


The Flames, Sabres, Oilers, Sharks, Stars, Canucks, Wild, Coyotes, Blues, Blue Jackets, and Panthers. Shrug. If you’ve got a reason why I should or would care, please share.

# # #

I want the Ducks, but I’d settle for the Kings, the Canes, or the Isles. What say you?

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  • Andy Wallace

    Tim Panaccio tweeted that he has been told Flyers or Bruins.

  • FUN FACT: I left the Blackhawks off this list completely.

  • Freedoooom

    The Capitals were supposed to be in the 2010 WC and were told they were and then they got told they weren’t going to because NBC said they didn’t want the Capitals. That would’ve been against the Bruins.

    And the promise for them participating in the 2011 WC was their own WC in 2014 which of course the lockout screwed up.

  • Chris Pavlakos

    itll be somebody from the east coast… probably Flyers or Rangers….. maximum ticket sales at FedEx. money money money.

    that said, I will be there.

  • Clint Petty

    No way they would have a Western Conference team with so many other good teams close by that are bigger rivals.

    Gotta be a big team like the Flyers, Bs, Pens, or Rags, but please, no more Rangers.

  • Ben Reed

    My best guess is Flyers. Optimal for ratings and revenues, and to ensure a packed house with both fans.

  • elguapo

    Where will it be? I’m hoping Nats stadium over Fedex

  • HoboCode

    The Red Wings are in decline? That’s why they’ve made 22 straight playoff appearances and took the current Stanley Cup Champions to the brink in a seven game series? Ok.

  • @TimHanson26

    The thought of the B’s is compelling. But the Caps might be out gunned. So I’ll say the Flyers, due to the proximity of the cities.

  • HoboCode

    Game at RFK or GTFO.

  • schumatrix

    It’s not happening in Baltimore. Nice try, hon.

  • brian!

    Assuming the Blue Jackets stay hot, that could be an interesting matchup, though it would require Bobrovsky to retain his level of dominance and all the trades and acquisitions management made pan out. I’d love to see a dark horse team play, particularly one that hasn’t been invited to a Winter Classic yet.

    Nats Stadium is probably the most logical geographic choice, but boy do I hate seeing these games played in baseball stadiums. The dimensions don’t work at all, and the capacity isn’t the same as a football stadium. That being said, I’d rather gnaw my own leg off than trek out to FedEx. That leaves M&T Bank in Baltimore (CHARM CITY CLASSIC!), RFK (compelling, as dedicating time there would get it refurbished, which DCU would love) or Uncle Teddy secretly building a new temporary stadium on the mall/freezing the reflecting pool.

  • RedRockingElla

    I want the Ducks too! WITH HBO for more Bruce F bombs, this time NOT directed at OUR team!!

  • Owen Johnson

    I would love to go, just as long as it’s not played in Little Pyongyang (FedEx Field)

  • Rhino40

    “Little Pyongyang”…LMAO

  • check back here in April

  • ew

    it is CRUMBLING

  • Jose

    When they’ve gone further than the Caps? Love both teams, but for a usually very well informed and pretty good site, tagging the Wings as a team in decline is as stupid as the Toronto fans and media thinking they’ve really turne a corner when all they did was get extremely lucky last year and are headed to another no playoffs season.

    Not to mention that the Red Wings prospect pool is as deep as they come, boasting a future star nº1 goalie and a very capable backup at least, two future top pairing defenceman and a couple more who could easily end up top 4 soon, a couple of pretty good centers and a handfull of good wings, not counting the already promoted Nyquist, Tatar, Andersson, Smith, DeKeyser…

  • Jose

    Ottawa in the capital cities battle would be pretty neat.

    Flyers are also a good choice and I hope if it happens to be them that they get destroyed, though that would be easier this season with that joke of a goalie tandem they got.

  • I didn’t compare the Caps and the Wings. I said the Wings are in decline, which they are.

    They barely finished 7th in the West last season.

    (Using their performance in the tiny sample of the playoffs is an awful way to predict their future.)

    They lost a top-10 defender in Lidstrom two years ago. Datsyuk is now 35. Zetterberg is 32. Alfie is 183.

    They don’t have a lot of young blood. Tootoo is a nothing. Kronwall is spread thin.

    Red Wings are in decline.

    “usually well-informed” heh okay.

  • DC Hockey Nut

    Absolutely the wings are in decline. They just have a much higher ladder to climb down from than most other teams (Which is what your haters seemed to have missed.)

  • well put

  • DC Hockey Nut

    Don’t get me wrong I’m really happy about the prospect of getting the winter classic. What I don’t get is the fact that, due to the rumors of the Flyers or Bruins being our opponent, the WC has snubbed once again teams that aren’t in the north-east (I consider DC close enough to count, albeit barely) or mid-west. I’d love to see a WC where the visiting team is from somewhere else in the NHL’s landscape.

    NOTE: I do, in fact, understand that the viable locations of the games are limited by this thing called “weather,” thereby constraining the classic to include at least one team from the northern half / 2/3rds of the continent.

  • yv

    To keep some freshness in otherwise staling event, a team that will be not involved in this season 6 outdoor games would be a good choice. To involve Canadian $s Habs, or old neighbor Flyers seems OK, however the latter, divisional, game seems less appealing.

  • Emily Casto

    Boston was my initial thought, but I’m with you- if Marty’s still starting for the Devils, that could be interesting. Considering how pissy our match-up with the Bruins got in the 2011-2012 playoffs, (even though Cranky Timmy’s no longer there), I think we still have more of a personal rivalry w/Boston than with a lot of teams who would be in the running. And, two great sports markets, tv-wise. I just really wish it could be played inside of WASHINGTON, DC. RFK obviously has it’s pros and cons, but Nats park could be set up the way the set up the game in Philly. I certainly have no issue with Maryland- I live in VA- but now that we have suitable location within the District, it really should be there.

  • Catherine__M

    ::gigglesnort:: good job.

  • james1968

    By 2015 the Sabres should have their own Russian Machine in the lineup, 6’5″ 220lbs defensemen Nikita Zadorov. A collision between he and Ovi could possibly level a building. Better it happens outside.

  • John Martino

    It will be the Rangers, for sure. And why don’t they just play it on the National Mall?

  • HoboCode

    It’s a hockey game. You need a catered brunch and cushy seats?

  • Jordan Small

    bruins blackhawks or hurricanes

  • Fedor

    And Bolts, too.

  • It’s gotta be the Rangers. Pittsburgh and Philly have been in two Winter Classics each already, and I’d say NYR is our #3 biggest rival right now. Plus it’s a team with tons of national TV appeal.

  • Ryan Odell

    I think it’s a safe bet that Adrian Dater isn’t among the readership. Cuz, like, he would have said something.
    …Jesus, the Avs truly are irrelevant.

  • Jose

    Exactly how are they in decline? They were “a mere 7th” by virtue of the lockout shortened season not allowing a makeshift defence to come together, yet they finished a mere point behind the Caps playing in the toughest division in hockey. Yet their play throuhgout the last month of the season and playoffs was of a much better team, as so happens when you actually learn to play together.

    Datsyuk’s 35, so what? Watch him embarras everybody until he’s 39 and goes back to finish his career in Russia. Hank’s 32, so sit with me and watch his steady play carry on for anoner 8 years, and if you’ve watched him at all you know it won’t decline.

    Nyquist and Tatar are more than ready for top 6 roles (which they won’t still get for a season or two), Anderson is a great bottom 6 pivot, Kindl is finally playing like he can and will just get better. So will Dekeyser, who is pretty darn good already. Smith and Lashoff will too. You know what they have in common? 24 or younger all, just about to enter their primes. Not to mention the elder statesman on D is Kronwall at 32. And there’s that Jimmy Howard guy, right around his thirties.

    Oh, and that thing about he Griffins winning the Calder loaded up with good prospects and adding even more this year.

    Jurco, Jarnkrok and Pulkkinen will be calling for top 6 spots pretty soon, Sheahan and Glendening are great bottom 6 prospects, and then there’s Frk, Mantha, Nastasiuk, Athanasiou and the likes on the way. On D, Sproul and Ouellet have top pairing (or worst case top 4) written all over them, Almqvist has Rafalski potential and then there’s Marchenko with great size and potential but still very rough. Mrazek is going to be pushing Howard for starts well before Howie’s contract is up, and Jared Coreau projects as, worst case scenario, a pretty good backup.

    Not to mention they still have the best GM and coach in the NHL.

    So yeah, I agree, the Wings are in decline, see you here in april to see what that means, but I’d advise lowering those decline expectations, just in case you find the Caps on a trip to Hockeytown to open the playoffs come april.

  • All fair points, and I’m not saying they’re a bad team at all. I’m just saying they’re not as good as they once were, based on the points I made above. I don’t even think this is very controversial. Best of luck to ’em, but I think this will be a tough road to the playoffs.

    For the record, the entire time we’ve been covering the Caps, they’ve been in decline.

  • warriorinside

    Yes, because the Washington area needs more road cones on its highways. Wait….

  • warriorinside

    No, but safe would be nice 🙂

  • Jose

    Of course they’re not, nobody is when you lose 3 of your top 4 d man in 2 seasons, and keeping Franzen over Hossa was probably a mistake, but to be a team in decline you must keep doing worse and worse, and besides a 1st round exit 2 seasons ago it’s been 1st round, CF, Cup, SCF, 2nd rd , 2nd rd, 1st rd, 2nd rd, with that last one ousting the nº2 seed and taking the Hawks to 7 (and handing the series to them after leading 3-1).

    They’re in decline if we’re to compare with the Wings of the pre salary cap era, but comparing to that is ridiculous nowadays, it’s just impossible to do that anymore, so I wouldn’t call their steady competitiveness decline, no matter how everybody (even the NHL itself, all jumping onto the Wings when things didn’t go as planned 2 seasons ago and beggining of this last one, before magically forgetting about it and lauding the great effort the club had done, when it was just what would’ve have happened anyways had they been given a regular schedule and a training camp to work the team together. The 1st round exit 2 seasons ago was a blip on the radar, but that’s it.