It wasn’t long after Washington owner Ted Leonsis promised a major announcement at Saturday’s Capitals Convention that speculation narrowed to two possibilities: a jersey retirement or the Winter Classic.
Better bring a scarf, kids, ’cause the Caps are playing outside.
Katie Carrera of the Washington Post is reporting this morning that the 2015 Winter Classic is coming to Washington.
The team isn’t commenting on the report, of course. No reason to spoil tomorrow’s official unveiling.
But that silence leaves two obvious questions hanging: who are they playing and where will it take place?
There’s no word on Washington’s opponent yet, but we’ve seen the drill before. Big market, superstar-laden teams only need apply, so don’t be surprised if it’s Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston or the New York Rangers.
Carrera speculates that Nationals Park, the home of the Washington Nationals, is the likeliest host location as team owner Mark Lerner is a minority partner in Leonsis’ Monumental Sports and Entertainment. The five-year-old ballpark doesn’t exactly fit the mold of an iconic location that the league prefers, and with seating for just 41,546 in a baseball configuration it’s on the small side, but hey, it’s tough to trump synergy.
There are other options, though, including FedEx Field and RFK Stadium. Unfortunately, The Mall isn’t one of them.
“The idea of a game being played on the Mall has been floated around for many years – it is NOT feasible; there aren’t enough common areas to build out seats,” Leonsis wrote on Jan. 3, 2012. “And the expense involved to create locker rooms; ice stands and studios are prohibitive. The Mall is managed by the National Park Service, as well.”
The Capitals last participated in the 2011 Winter Classic against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Heinz Field, a game best remembered for rain pushing an afternoon start time into the evening and the Dave Steckel elbow that almost ended Sidney Crosby’s career. Washington won that one, 3-1.