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.


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.