Last year was a nice taste of Winter Classic fun for the Washington Capitals in Pittsburgh. But to get the chance to play in the NHL’s regular-season Super Bowl of sorts would be all that much better.
“I think it would unreal,” Caps forward Jay Beagle said. “Obviously playing in the Winter Classic last year, it was one of the greatest hockey memories that I’ve had just because of how they put the event on and everything. To be able to have it in front of your home crowd would be even that much more spectacular.”
Several teammates shared the same sentiment, and it’s especially meaningful for the young guys on the Caps who stand a good chance of being around when Washington gets the Winter Classic. It seems likely the game could come to the D.C. area in 2014 or 2015, though the league has not made any official announcement.
The Caps organization earned a promise to host the game by virtue of being the visitor in Pittsburgh, owner Ted Leonsis and general manager George McPhee have said, and that’s great news for players.
“That Winter classic, everything about it was so much fun and so big and so much hype. I really enjoyed being a part of it, so I think that the city here would also really like that and get fired up and have kind of like a football game atmosphere,” defenseman Karl Alzner said. “I’ve been to a couple of Redskins games. I know what they can do. I think it would be a great event here.”
Logistically, it’s easier as well.
Said defenseman John Carlson: “I don’t know where it would be or what, but it would be awesome to be at home and kind of be on the other end of the spectacle this time where you don’t have to be worried about everything – setting everything up for your family and friends and what not – and you can just go about your business and your family can see a city that they’ve seen before and just kind of settle into the game a little bit more.”
For Potomac native Jeff Halpern, a D.C. Winter Classic would be a dream.
“I think D.C. - the weather sometimes isn’t as cold as say in Buffalo or something like that. But there’s not much difference between Washington and Philly,” Halpern said. “As far as where you’d have it, it’d be nice for it to be a downtown location, but I definitely think the D.C. market is as deserving as any other market to host it.”
For more on the seeming inevitability of a Winter Classic in Washington, check out Monday’s Washington Times.