While it’s been confirmed since May, the reality of the 2011 NHL Winter Classic finally began to set in today. The league’s press conference today didn’t reveal much information beyond the logos and some remarks by various officials (mostly from Pittsburgh), but it did serve as a nice bit of hockey news in the heated wastland of summer.
The Caps had a few officials in attendance, including Team President Dick Patrick and Caps players Dave Steckel and Mike Knuble. Most of the press questions revolved around the recent history between the Penguins and Capitals and the hyper focus on the Crosby/Ovechkin matchup. “It takes a team effort to win the game,” said Steckel during one brief interview. “There are outstanding performances by them [Crosby and Ovechkin], but ultimately it comes down to all the guys on the team to succeed.”
“If you love rivalries, Capitals-Penguins may be our best,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in his opening remarks. “If you enjoy the sight of team captains providing passionate leadership and game-breaking skill, I don’t think you can do much better than Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. And if you can’t get enough star power, both of these teams are loaded with it.
“And if you love the fact, as we do, that Jan. 1 is the day we welcome the new year with a great outdoor event that celebrates the roots of our game, no matter which team you root for, no matter which rivalry you prefer, then this 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic here at Heinz Field will be a must-see moment.”
The Caps did announce that the first look at the Capitals’ Winter Classic jersey and to purchase related WC merchandise will come at the Caps Convention on Saturday, October 2. Tickets are already on sale through Ticketmaster. WC ticket information has not been released at this time.