- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 23, 2011

When the Thrashers moved from Atlanta to Winnipeg, Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau went on radio in Canada and said lightheartedly, “I’m looking forward to seeing what the schedule looks like.”

The NHL regular-season schedule released Thursday features three trips to Winnipeg as part of Washington’s Southeast Division slate.

The Caps will be making their first trip there Nov. 17 and also visit the as-yet-unnamed team Dec. 15 and March 16.

But for a team that already enjoys a beneficial travel slate to face division foes Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers, one year of trips to Manitoba won’t engender too many problems. The Caps’ visits all come as part of road trips, so they won’t shuttle to Winnipeg and back each time.

“We only have to deal with coming to Winnipeg three times,” Eric Fehr told The Times last month. “We can’t complain too much.”

The Caps open the season against Carolina on Oct. 8 at Verizon Center and host Tampa Bay, the team that swept them out of the playoffs, on Oct. 10. Their first matchup against the rival Penguins comes in Pittsburgh on Oct. 13.

The longest home stand of the season lasts five games from Feb. 28 to March 8 and comprises games against the New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, Hurricanes and Lightning.

The Caps’ longest road trip is also five games — from March 13 to March 22 at the Islanders, Winnipeg, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings and Flyers.

The Caps don’t see the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins for the first time until Jan. 24.

• Stephen Whyno can be reached at swhyno@washingtontimes.com.

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