Rachel Cohen, RMNB’s resident illustrator, made this awesome sign for tonight’s game. Please make sure to keep a look out for her during the national broadcast. She will be holding this sign proudly all night. Most importantly, now that we’re less than an hour away from the game…
After Caps practice concluded today, players and team members were treated to a free skate in which they could bring their friends and family onto the ice. The one person who seemed to have the most fun was none other than Alex Ovechkin, who celebrated the Russian New Year on the Winter Classic ice at 4pm.
Ovi began the free skate by pulling his non-hockey-playing brother Mikhail along with a stick. Next, he set his sights for Alex Semin’s young niece and gave her a trek across the ice on top of his shoulders. After noticing a few kids throwing a football around, Ovechkin got into the action and threw the ball to the kids the entire length of the ice. Several times the bouncing football almost hit one of the NHL Network’s reporters on live TV. Finally, Ovechkin concluded his skate by giving George McPhee’s son, Graham, a wedgie we’re sure he’ll remember for life.
Since we figured you’d want to actually see all of this, the photos and video are below the jump. Enjoy.
Sasha Minor talks about the conditions of the ice, how to stay focused, and who came to Pittsburgh to support him with the NHL Network’s Alyonka Larianov.
Mike Green‘s friends from Calgary got engaged at center ice after the Capitals concluded their Winter Classic practice. Above Jeff Leachman and his future wife Lindsey, tell the story.
Your new desktop background: The entire Caps’ roster smiles for the camera ahead of the Winter Classic. Click to enlarge. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
Above, are highlights from the Caps Pens Alumni Game where the two-period exhibition ended in a 5-5 tie. One of my favorite All-Time Capitals, Peter Bondra, tied the game in the final few minutes with a wicked slap shot from the middle of the circles. In Bonzai’s post-game scrum with the media, he revealed that the scrimmage actually got quite intense.
We swear the puck went in.
There was certainly a special buzz in the air today. With most schools shutdown and most work-places deserted for the upcoming Christmas holiday, Caps fans traveled in droves to Kettler Capitals Iceplex to cheer on their hometown team during their pre-game skate. Why? Because the Pittsburgh Penguins were in town.
The energy the Caps felt in the morning certainly translated to the game as one minute in, Alex Ovechkin laid out frenemy, Evgeny Malkin, with one of his biggest hits of the season. The crowd went wild. The Penguins lost their composure. And seconds later, as Evgeny Malkin looked for retribution, he took a two minute interference call. The Capitals get a powerplay!
Unfortunately for our heroes, there was too much standing around, and there wasn’t enough crashing of the net in their ensuing man advantage. The Penguins savvily killed off the powerplay and seized back momentum immediately on a beautiful deflection goal by Sidney Crosby at 3:21.
Thirty-one game minutes later, the Capitals tied it up at the tail end of a 5-on-3 powerplay. Mike Green, who had pinched-in to the top of the face-off circle, riffled a slapshot to the top corner of the net. The game stayed tied 1-1, until the beginning of the third, when Sidney Crosby challenged three Capitals players, flicked the puck towards the net, and found Chris Kunitz who backhanded a shot home.
Things looked dicey until team leader Mike Knuble converted on a crazy 2-on-1 goal while the Caps were shorthanded. The two teams then went to Overtime. Despite what looked to be another goal by Mike Green, the extra five minutes of 4-on-4 hockey could not decide a victor. After an exciting shootout, Pascal Dupuis scored at the bottom of the 7th round. Pens beat Caps 3-2 (SO).
Sure. Tuesday was a fun night. Andrew Gordon scored his first NHL Goal, Marcus Johansson got his first NHL kiss, and the Capitals offense exploded in a 5-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils. But not everything was rainbows and butterflies. Just ask former Capital and current Vesus analyst Keith Jones, who had this to say about Alex Semin’s play against the Devils on Versus’ post-game show.
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