- The Washington Times - Monday, June 20, 2011

It will be another year until the Stanley Cup is presented again, but Washington hockey fans are officially less than three months from the Capitals being back on the ice.

The Caps on Monday released their 2011 preseason schedule, which features three games at Verizon Center and one in Baltimore.

They’ll host the Nashville Predators at 1st Mariner Arena on Sept. 20 to open the preseason - the first Caps game in Maryland since moving downtown from Landover in 1997.

“We always have received strong support from Baltimoreans,” president Dick Patrick said recently. “This preseason game is an opportunity for us to take Caps hockey to them.”

Following the “Baltimore Hockey Classic,” the Caps will travel to Columbus to face the Blue Jackets on Sept. 21 and Chicago to face the Blackhawks on Sept. 23.

The Caps’ first game at Verizon Center since facing Tampa Bay in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series will be Sept. 26 against the Blue Jackets. After visiting Nashville on Sept. 28, the Caps wrap up the exhibition schedule with games against the Buffalo Sabres on Sept. 30 and the Blackhawks on Oct. 2.

According to reports, the NHL is set to release the regular-season schedule this week.