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For hockey players who first learned the game on frozen ponds, the Winter Classic is a throwback to their youth. On January 1st, the NHL’s signature game will invade Nationals Park to pay homage to that tradition. But one of the major story lines heading into New Year’s day won’t be hockey; it’ll be about weather.

“It maybe snow, maybe it’s gonna be rain,” Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin recently said of Washington D.C.’s unpredictable climate. “You never know what the weather’s going to be.”

If you’ve seen NBC’s most recent Winter Classic commercial, there’s no doubt what kind of forecast they’re hoping for. As CGI’d snow falls around Washington’s historic landmarks, the clip announces, “hockey returns outdoors.” Barack Obama crows in the background, “let us brave once more the icy currents and endure what storms may come.”

The mere chance of snow excites fans. If the sky spits just a little that day, it could provide bigger ratings and better visuals both for NBC and a league eager to reach new fans. The weather will have a major impact on the playing surface as well. A long stretch pass from the defensive zone just won’t make it if the ice sheet is blanketed with snow… or puddles.

With all that on the line, one of the most interested bystanders will be emerging-star weekend meteorologist for NBC Washington, Amelia Segal. And for good reason. Not only does she love weather, she’s also from this area and loves the sport.

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We’re officially 29 days away from the Winter Classic. It’s time to chug vitamin water and start running 6-minute miles on the treadmill because that’s the only way you’re going to be able to physically handle the crush of Winter Classic promotional material coming your way. On this boring Wednesday night, NBC released a new commercial, the Caps wore their Winter Classic pants, and season-ticket holders got their awesomely designed tickets for the event.

It’s okay to be super excited– in fact, the way things are going this season, this might be the only thing worth being excited for all year.

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WOO NICKY WOO!

Epix, that new, weird television channel the NHL is forcing us to watch, has released a teaser trailer for its four-part Road To The Winter Classic series. The footage is like 75 percent players pumping iron, but hey, whatever, NHL. It’s something. I’m excited.

I went ahead and GIF’d literally every clip of the Caps in it. There’s something comforting and hypnotic about watching infinite weightlifting and fist-pumping.

If you sign up for Epix now, you’ll be able to watch the series. You should probably do it right now (and give the Epix people the marketing material they need to be in more homes). The series starts Tuesday, December 16th at 10 PM.

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Justin and Kate looking good in the new toques.

Last night, the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks wore Winter Classic toques promoting their outdoor match-up on January 1st. The winter hats were dead sexy, so naturally everyone wanted to buy one. Unfortunately, they were not sold anywhere.

Or so we thought. During the first period, RMNB reader @Maggles330 tipped us off that they were at Dick’s Sporting Goods. I left during intermission and found a whole rack of them at the Frederick store. Many of you had success this morning at your local Dick’s Sporting Goods around the area.

Today there’s been a lot of movement from other official Winter Classic retailers. Let’s run down the list of where you can get them now.

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“Stay tuned” is what the Capitals told us when we asked when and how fans could buy the team’s nifty new Winter Classic toques. We are too impatient for that.

Based on a scorching hot tip from reader @Maggles330, we sent Ian Oland out on assignment. He hit the road during the first intermission of Friday’s game and headed to Dick’s Sporting Goods, now open on Buckeystown Pike in Frederick. The good people at Dick’s even agreed to take a photo holding the toques.

Boom.

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Photo: @SergeyKocharov

The Washington Capitals-designed Winter Classic toque is everywhere tonight. Players were wearing it after practice and on the ice during warm-ups. Hell, even Joe B and Craig Laughlin were rocking them during the telecast.

Unfortunately, these toques are not currently for sale to the public (at least I don’t see them anywhere online). But I’m sure they will be available some day in the future at which point I will be buy 30.

Photos!

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toews-terrible-photo

After months of nothing, the NHL has begun announcing news surrounding the 2015 Winter Classic, which will be held in our own backyard of Washington DC! This is why I must point you to the NHL.com website, which has tons of stories promoting the event and hey… why does Toews look like that?

I think we’re going to need to get our fancy schmancy graphic editing software program, vector some raster things, and enhance that bad boy.

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Photo: Neil Greenberg

The Washington Capitals announced Wednesday that they will unveil their new Winter Classic jerseys at the finally-agreed-upon-venue, Nats Park, on September 23rd.

“The Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® has made New Year’s Day a highlight of the season for NHL fans everywhere,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said according to the Capitals’ press release. “Nationals Park provides an ideal setting for all the excitement, entertainment and fun as the Blackhawks and Capitals bring our outdoor tradition to historic Washington, D.C.”

“We are thrilled the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will be played at Nationals Park as we welcome the Chicago Blackhawks and their fans to our nation’s capital,” Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis said. “We are delighted the D.C. area and our great fan base will have an opportunity to experience the Winter Classic, and we know that Nationals Park will provide an incredible backdrop for the game.”

Commissioner Bettman, Caps owner Ted Leonsis, general manager Brian MacLellan, captain Alex Ovechkin, center Nicklas Backstrom, and goaltender Braden Holtby are all scheduled to attend the event.

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Still without a venue to announce, there hasn’t been much affirmative news about the 2014 Winter Classic lately, which is kind of a bummer. But this morning, I was innocently surfing the internet when I happened upon — and this is a blatant lie — the Caps’ Winter Classic jerseys for this year.

It must be. It has to be.

Instead of sporting vintage red, white, and blue, the Capitals have clearly chosen to embrace the colors of the team’s former home state– including the logo of that state’s favorite baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles.

Bold. And appropriate. This jersey is the fashion equivalent of 20 games above .500.

Now imagine the Caps skating around an outdoor rink at Camden Yards, the most beautiful baseball stadium in this area (according to one Nats reporter), with a sprinkling of snow on the field. Despite Ted’s insistence that “the “Caps will play on New Year’s Day here in DC against the Chicago Blackhawks,” OPACY still feels like a mortal lock, right?

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