The Washington Times - January 17, 2013, 11:22AM

The Capitals won’t be playing a game Thursday night at Verizon Center. They’ll be taking part in an open practice and signing autographs, shaking hands and kissing babies. Or at least throwing T-shirts.

The open practice is one of the team’s endeavors to thank fans for coming back after the NHL lockout.

SEE RELATED:


For fans who come, here’s what to expect, from the Caps’ press release:

“… complimentary hot dogs, fountain soda, popcorn, pretzels, nachos and ice cream that will be provided for all guests in attendance. The Capitals will host an openpractice at 7 p.m. and select Capitals players will be available for a question-and-answer session with all fans in attendance after the practice as well as games, photo opportunities, a slap shot cage, face painting and autographs from Capitals legends Rod Langway and Peter Bondra. In addition the Verizon Center Team Store will be open for Capitals merchandise purchases with a 20% discount on regular-priced merchandise for all fans attending Thursday’s practice.”

For players, Thursday morning acted as a morning skate. They went on the ice at 10 a.m. at the practice facility and skated for less than a half-hour, followed by meetings.

“Just try and get them in a game day routine,” coach Adam Oates said. “It’s really not a training camp. It’s just a weird schedule in January. You got five days off. It’s not an exhibition game Saturday. It’s a real game.”

Doors open at 6 p.m. Thursday night. The open practice/scrimmage begins at 7.