Well, we didn't get to face the rival Penguins in the playoffs this year but it's official: the Capitals will meet their arch rivals on a frigid Heinz Field on January 1, 2011 in the fourth annual Winter Classic. Hockey Mom has already been heating up the phone lines to the relatives from the dark side trying to line up lodging and tickets once I heard the rumblings were close to being confirmed. Ovi and Sid in the snow - will make for a spectacular sporting event - one that's already claimed a spot on even casual hockey fans' New Years Day viewing schedules.
Here's the official press release from the Capitals:
Capitals to Face Penguins in 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic in Pittsburgh
Game set for Jan. 1 at Heinz Field; Washington, D.C., area to host future outdoor game
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals will face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1, 2011, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced today. The two teams will face off at 1 p.m. ET at the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers in a game that will be televised on NBC. In addition, the commissioner announced that the Washington, D.C., area will be home to a future outdoor game in the next two or three years.
“We are excited to participate not only in the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic but also are pleased that the NHL has agreed to play a future outdoor game in the D.C. area,” Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis said. “Our organization is extremely appreciative of Commissioner Bettman’s efforts and that he recognized our intense desire to have our great fan base and the D.C. area enjoy all the benefits associated with an outdoor game. It recognizes and rewards our fans and franchise for our many achievements on and off the ice. We are also happy to announce that all of our full season-ticket account holders will be given an opportunity to purchase tickets to the game in Pittsburgh. It was important for us to be able to reward and extend this benefit to our most valued customers.”
Every Washington Capitals full-season account holder will have the opportunity to purchase tickets for the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. Details on ticket availability and pricing will be sent to full season-ticket holders when they become available. Other fans interested in attending the event are encouraged to sign up for ticket updates on WashingtonCaps.com.
This marks the fourth Winter Classic, an annual game that Forbes magazine called the best new sporting event of the last decade. It will mark the first time the Capitals will play an outdoor game in their history.
Coach Boudreau will be on a media conference call later this afternoon sharing his thoughts on this exciting news.
The Washington-Pittsburgh matchup pits two traditional rivals against each other, teams that have won the Presidents’ Trophy (Washington) and Stanley Cup (Pittsburgh) in the last two seasons. Their rosters feature three of the four 100-point scorers in the NHL this season (Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Nicklas Backstrom), two-time Norris Trophy finalist Mike Green and two of the three finalists for the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player (Ovechkin and Crosby), led by two-time defending Hart Trophy winner Ovechkin.