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Capitals-Penguins 24/7: Capitals, Penguins Practice At Heinz Field Before Winter Classic


  • After a clip showing Jordan Staal practicing as he hopes to return for the NHL Winter Classic, the TV pans to a variety of weather reports showing the chances for rain. Spoiler alert: it rains.
  • The Capitals go to their last practice, and Bruce Boudreau is angry about the power play. "We're not doing anything like we're f***** supposed to .... Everybody is doing it themselves." The practice focuses on the power play, and Boudreau is as animated as we've seen. He's constantly giving instructions to his point men on exactly what they should do. "It's all about work. If you outwork them ... we're going to have success." He then says "Let's get to f***** Pittsburgh and see what happens."
  • The Caps then fly to Pittsburgh, where they then drive to the hotel. One bus has a message that says "Ice the Caps." 
  • The Penguins arrive for an outdoor practice at Heinz Field, and Pascal Dubois finds a Steelers helmet that he decides he will wear to practice. He actually follows through on his word, which is a bit scary. They then go through a shootout contest, and any player who fails to score has to climb to the top of the Heinz Field bleachers. No wonder the Penguins looked tired in the game. (My hate is strong, what can I say). Goalie Marc Andre-Fleury stones Jordan Staal, who is forced to run, which is ironic because his status for the Winter Classic is up in the air due to an injury. He stumbled up the steps slowly, but surely.
  • The Capitals follow with their own practice at Heinz Field, stressing that "there's no such thing as soft passes" because of the status of the ice. It's a short practice, but they want to get accustomed to the ice. "Hard passes," Boudreau stressed. "No f***** soft passes." The Capitals describe the whole thing as "skating in a bunch of quicksand." 
  • Boudreau says after the practice that he's "90 percent chance" the game will start at 8. "It's an exciting event, but it's still two f***** points we're going to take off these pricks."
  • The camera then pans to an NHL conference call with Colin Campbell where they decide to have the game start at 8, saying they will issue a statement at 5. 
  • The Capitals then have a modest New Year's dinner with family and friends. "Dinner, a diet coke, and then I'm sure a lot of players will head upstairs and everyone else will have fun," says Mike Green. Mike Knuble has to deal with his kids, who he thinks will be in bed by midnight anyway.