With winds finally beginning to die down, the NHL just announced that the Caps-Leafs Stadium Series game will go on as originally scheduled at 8 PM.
Both teams will get their first chance to get on the ice and adjusted to the unique sightlines during pregame warmups.
Here’s the NHL’s official announcement:
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (March 3, 2018) – The National Hockey League announced today that the start time of tonight’s 2018 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series between the Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium will remain at 8 p.m. ET. In addition, The PreGame, a free fan festival in the Blue Lot at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, will be open from 2-7:30 p.m., as originally scheduled.
“The good thing about it is that it’s going to be the same for both teams,” Mike Babcock said this morning.
Mike Babcock on outdoor games just being another hockey game and not overthinking it. pic.twitter.com/dHb1behclK
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) March 3, 2018
The NHL announced that the pregame activities will also begin as scheduled at 2 PM as well as sharing some pregame notes and its plans for its special ceremonies before and during the game.
Via the NHL:
WASHINGTON CAPITALS vs. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
NAVY-MARINE CORPS MEMORIAL STADIUM, ANNAPOLIS, MD
COORS LIGHT NHL STADIUM SERIES RETURNS FOR FIFTH SEASON
The Capitals and Maple Leafs will contest the ninth Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game since the series was launched in 2013-14. The series has gone to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles with the NHL’s first regular-season outdoor game played in California, showcased the first two hockey games ever played at Yankee Stadium in New York, ventured to Northern California for a game at state-of-the-art Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, staged the first-ever NHL games at Soldier Field in Chicago and Coors Field in Denver, traveled to the State of Hockey for a contest at TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota and featured an all-Pennsylvania clash between the Penguins and Flyers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
CAPITALS, MAPLE LEAFS MATCHUP RECALLS EPIC 2017 PLAYOFF SERIES
The Capitals and Maple Leafs met in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in 2017 and produced a memorable series. The teams required overtime in five of their six games, matching the single-series NHL postseason record set by the Maple Leafs and Canadiens in the 1951 Stanley Cup Final (4-1 TOR W) and Coyotes and Blackhawks in the 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinals (4-2 PHX W). The Capitals clinched the series in Game 6 when Marcus Johansson tied the game in the third period and scored the series-winning goal at 6:31 of overtime. Washington won three overtime games in a series (also Games 1 and 5) for the second time in franchise history.
Since the 1974-75 season, when Washington joined the NHL, the Capitals and Maple Leafs have faced off 143 times during the regular season. Washington holds a 160-136 point edge in the head-to-head series (WSH: 72-55-16, TOR: 61‑68‑14).
The 2018 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series will be the third and final regular-season meeting between the Capitals and Maple Leafs in 2017-18, with each team posting a road victory to date. Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen made 30 saves in blanking Washington 2-0 on Oct. 17 and Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied a hat trick in the Capitals’ 4-2 win on Nov. 25.
CAPITALS, MAPLE LEAFS UNDEFEATED OUTDOORS
The Capitals are undefeated in their two previous regular-season outdoor appearances, earning a 3-2 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks at the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Nationals Park in Washington and a 3-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
The Maple Leafs also are undefeated in two previous outdoor contests, which were both played against the Detroit Red Wings. Toronto defeated Detroit 3-2 in a shootout at the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor in front of 105,491 fans. The Maple Leafs again defeated the Red Wings at the 2017 Scotiabank NHL Centennial Classic in a 5-4 victory at Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium.
OUTDOOR NHL GAME EXPERIENCE
* Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock has the opportunity to join the Rangers’ Alain Vigneault as the only bench bosses with three career victories in regular-season outdoor NHL games. Vigneault (3-0-0) reached the milestone when the Rangers defeated the Sabres in the 2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citi Field in New York on Jan. 1. Babcock (2-0-1) previously guided the Maple Leafs to a win in the 2017 Scotiabank NHL Centennial Classic at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto and the Red Wings to a victory in the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Other coaches tied with Babcock with two victories are Bruce Boudreau (2-0-0), Claude Julien (2-2-0) and Michel Therrien (2-0-0).
* Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik and Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk both have the opportunity to tie a record by appearing in their fifth regular-season outdoor NHL game. Orpik skated with the Penguins in outdoor games in 2008, 2011 and 2014, and with the Capitals in the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. Van Riemsdyk played in two such games for the Flyers, in 2010 and 2012, and for the Maple Leafs in the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor and the 2017 Scotiabank NHL Centennial Classic at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto. Orpik and van Riemsdyk would tie the mark of five outdoor appearances shared by Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Benoit Pouliot, Brad Richards, Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews.
* Capitals defenseman Jakub Jerabek and Maple Leafs forward Tomas Plekanec – who each played with the Canadiens in December’s 2017 Scotiabank NHL100 Classic at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa – can become the first players in NHL history to participate in outdoor games with multiple teams in the same season.
OUTDOOR NHL GAME NOTES
* The 2018 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series marks the 25th regular-season outdoor game in NHL history.
* The NHL’s 24 regular-season outdoor games to date have drawn total attendance of 1,284,097 – an average of 53,504 per game. NHL outdoor attendance surpassed the 1-million mark at the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series between the Avalanche and Red Wings at Coors Field in Denver on Feb. 27, 2016.
* Thirteen outdoor games have taken place at football venues, 10 have been hosted by baseball parks and one has been staged in a soccer stadium.
STADIUM SERIES UNIFORMS
Washington’s uniform salutes the game’s locale – Annapolis, Md. Marking the first time in Capitals history that the team will wear a navy-blue uniform, the overall design aesthetic pays homage to the U.S. Navy and highlights key elements of Washington’s brand. The special edition crest design centers around the team’s informal nickname, “CAPS.” Additionally, the crest incorporates the three stars from the Capitals’ primary moniker, which also honors the Washington, D.C., city flag.
Utilizing the classic striping of Maple Leafs uniforms past and present, the stripes on the Toronto uniform are emphasized to create a bolder, more visually pronounced look in the outdoor stadium setting. The team’s iconic logo is unchanged and executed in white with a blue outline to accentuate the amount of white on the uniform, symbolizing in color the “team from the north” narrative. Additional design details include a salute to the Royal Canadian Navy with the credo “Ready, Aye, Ready” on the inside collar.
STADIUM SERIES FESTIVITIES
The 2018 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series will feature special recognitions of the Navy personnel in the U.S. and Canada, celebrations of the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey and U.S. Olympic Men’s Curling Teams, the participation of 500 midshipmen in game day festivities, and performances by various military musical ensembles, including ambassadors from the U.S. Naval Academy’s music department.
The homage to the Navy will be on display throughout the game, from the on-field decor to the in-game ceremonies to the more than 500 U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen in attendance. The NHL-regulation rink sits atop a Navy-inspired aircraft carrier flight deck, complete with model fighter jet.
The pregame festivities will begin with a procession march onto the field of U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen. Led by the U.S. Naval Academy Drum and Bugle Corps, the midshipmen will take their stations along the rails of the makeshift flight deck in a nod to the ceremonial tradition of “manning the rails.” The visiting Maple Leafs will take the field first, led by the 2nd Canadian Mechanized Bridge Group Pipes and Drums. The host Capitals will be led by members of the U.S. Naval Academy Pipes and Drums.
The presentation of colors will feature eight members of the U.S. Joint Services Color Guard carrying the U.S. flag, joined by a member of the Royal Canadian Navy carrying the Canadian flag. Members of the U.S. Naval Academy’s men’s and women’s hockey teams will unfurl flags onto the ice.
The Canadian national anthem will be performed by Petty Officer 2nd Class Brad Davidge, accompanied by the brass ensemble from the Stadacona Band of the Royal Canadian Navy. The U.S. national anthem will be performed by Midshipman 2nd Class Lael Sommer and the U.S. Naval Academy Band.
The pregame festivities will conclude with a fly-over featuring two Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets from the “World Famous Fighting Black Lions” of VFA-213 based out of Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia Beach, Va. Flying the lead aircraft will be Lieutenant Jon Bernard Pro and Commander Patrick Baker, U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2000. The wing aircraft will be flown by Lieutenant Andrew Wolfe, U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2012, and Lieutenant Commander Jeffrey Sweitzer. The Black Lions are a two-seat air superiority and strike fighter squadron with a proud 63‑year history of leading the country’s most demanding missions.
The U.S. Olympic Men’s Curling Team that captured America’s first gold medal in the sport will be recognized before the game. During the second intermission, the NHL will celebrate members of the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team.
Staples at U.S. Naval Academy sporting events, the Academy’s Drum and Bugle Corps and Navy Spirit Dance Team, along with the U.S. Naval Academy Band, will entertain fans throughout the 2018 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series.
Armed Forces Network will broadcast the game live to U.S. and Canadian service members stationed overseas. Fans in attendance at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium as well as those watching the broadcast will be treated to live look-ins of service members enjoying the game from military bases in Africa, Southwest Asia and more.
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