Well, where did you think it was going to be? Monday, news broke that the 2015 Winter Classic, hosted by the Washington Capitals, is all but certain to happen at Nationals Park. FedEx Field (ew) and RFK Stadium were also looked at by National Hockey League officials, according to a report by Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside of ESPN. Katie Carrera of The Washington Post confirmed the news.
The Caps and Pens face-off in the 2011 Winter Classic. (Photo credit: Brian Babineau)
For the past few days we’ve waited with bated breath to find out what, exactly, Uncle Ted would reveal on Saturday morning at Caps Con. An outdoor game? A new retired number? Moving the team to Baltimore? Well, Friday morning news broke (via The Washington Post’s Katie Carrera) that the Washington Capitals will be hosting next year’s Winter Classic.
The Caps have been promised an outdoor game for the past few years, so this isn’t surprising. Still, it’s exciting that a big outdoor event — and there are too many of those to count these days — will finally be coming to DC, likely to Nationals Park. Ted should fill in the gaps for us on Saturday.
So, what do Caps fans think of being on hockey’s center stage?
“About damn time!” Beth Dunn exclaimed when I asked her about the news. “It was the worst kept secret ever.”
Photo credit: Justin K. Aller
This morning we talked about whom the Capitals might play against at the fabled 2015 Winter Classic, which we are due to learn about on Saturday. Word on the street is that it’ll be Boston or Philly (probably Philly), but that doesn’t matter as our discussion quickly devolved into where the game would be held.
I was at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on that gloriously balmy January day back in 2011. It was magical, with nearly a birds-eye-view of the on-ice action and the largest crowd I’ve ever screamed next to at a hockey game.
The Winter Classic is all about that scope, that grandeur, that nostalgia, and that crass financial exploitation of an unsuspecting fanbase. It won’t get any bigger and $$$-ier than this year’s Winter Classic, held at the 100k-seating Big House in Michigan. So where will it be in 2015?
It’s a complicated question. Regional loyalties, security, sight lines, occupancy, and Dan Snyder’s undiluted evil all play into the equation– as does the fact that it NEVER SNOWS IN DC ANYMORE.
Let’s run through the candidates together.
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?
Bleep dat bleep up
Photo credit: Gregory Shamus
After a year of build-up and three glorious episodes of HBO’s 24/7, the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins finally met at Heinz Field in front of 68,111 loud, screaming fans to compete in the 2011 Winter Classic. Much like the 39 games before and the 42 games to follow, this game counted the exact same amount in the standings: two points.
But both you and I know it meant waaaaaay more than that. You could see it in how the Caps played, celebrated and spoke after the game. This was the biggest game they had ever played in their NHL careers. And it showed.
At 8:17pm the first puck dropped. It would then take over twenty-two compelling game minutes to see the 2011 Classic’s first goal. In the second period, Marc-Andre Fleury made a routine stick save along the ice on Alex Ovechkin. Kris Letang then took the rebound and alertly flung the puck up ice where he found a streaking Evgeny Malkin. The Capitals’ defense, caught on a bad change, allowed Malkin to go in all alone on Semyon Varlamov. Malkin went five-hole and the the Penguins took a 1-0 lead.
Rachel Cohen, RMNB’s resident illustrator, made this awesome sign for tonight’s game. Please make sure to keep a look out for her during the national broadcast. She will be holding this sign proudly all night. Most importantly, now that we’re less than an hour away from the game…
LET’S GO CAPS!!
After Caps practice concluded today, players and team members were treated to a free skate in which they could bring their friends and family onto the ice. The one person who seemed to have the most fun was none other than Alex Ovechkin, who celebrated the Russian New Year on the Winter Classic ice at 4pm.
Ovi began the free skate by pulling his non-hockey-playing brother Mikhail along with a stick. Next, he set his sights for Alex Semin’s young niece and gave her a trek across the ice on top of his shoulders. After noticing a few kids throwing a football around, Ovechkin got into the action and threw the ball to the kids the entire length of the ice. Several times the bouncing football almost hit one of the NHL Network’s reporters on live TV. Finally, Ovechkin concluded his skate by giving George McPhee’s son, Graham, a wedgie we’re sure he’ll remember for life.
Since we figured you’d want to actually see all of this, the photos and video are below the jump. Enjoy.