The Washington Times - September 21, 2011, 12:47AM

BALTIMORE | Amid the hype that preceded the Baltimore Hockey Classic, Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau seemed legitimately excited about returning to the old arena in which he played a season back in 1985. When Tuesday night finally came around, he was happy with the way the sellout crowd (announced as 11,082) performed in this limited release motion picture.

“[I expected] they would be rowdy and they would be just waiting for us to do something,” he said. “Unfortunately we didn’t score any goals.”

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But that didn’t stop one fan from trying to celebrate by throwing a crab onto the ice. In Detroit, the celebration involves octopi; Florida tried rats during a 1996 playoff run – apparently if Baltimore had a hockey team crabs would be the choice.

Or maybe that’s just hockey in Baw’more, hon.

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This one had all the pomp and circumstance expected out of a once-a-year event – complete with a ceremonial puck drop between Alex Ovechkin and Predators captain Shea Weber that included Caps Hall of Famer Rod Langway and ex-Orioles catcher Chris Hoiles.

Hoiles was announced multiple times as an “Orioles Hall of Famer,” so I looked up the stats: He played 10 seasons with the Orioles, batted .262 with 151 homers and once finished 16th in American League MVP voting.

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During and after the morning skate, the ice conditions looked like they were going to be a factor – and they were. The game changed significantly because of puddles and holes, and Ovechkin said equipment manager Brock Myles had to check players’ skates often throughout the night.

“I don’t know how many times Brock check our skates because it was holes and ice was soft,” he said. “But it’s over, thank God nobody gets hurt and everybody feel healthy.”

Amen.

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Inside the arena, it took some big hits to get the crowd going during a pretty boring exhibition game, but the fans did seem happy to be there. Caps sweaters were just about everywhere in the area around 1st Mariner Arena before the game.

“The Caps are doing a fantastic job of creating fans in this whole Baltimore-Washington, D.C., area that it’s really good,” Predators coach Barry Trotz said. “A lot of red out here.”