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Features

Capitals look to buck home-team trend at Classic

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- A thought crossed Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green’s mind as he prepared for the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic against the Chicago Blackhawks, so he sought an answer.

“I was curious how many home teams won,” he said after the Capitals practiced at Nationals Park on Wednesday.

The visitors have won five of the previous six NHL Winter Classics, including three straight. The Capitals are among them, having defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins at Heinz Field in 2011.

A poll of Washington’s locker room produced varied responses, though the most prevalent was the presence of family and friends, making sure everyone and everything are taken care of.

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Beagle: Capitals get used to elements during practice

Jay Beagle - Washington Capitals

Capitals forward Jay Beagle is about to play in his second Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. Beagle suited up for Washington at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh in 2011, and is expected to be in the lineup Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks at Nationals Park.

Beagle agreed to offer up his opinions in blog form leading up to the main event.

WASHINGTON -- We had a good day of practice at the stadium today. It was great to take in the atmosphere and get an idea of what everything will look like when we play the Chicago Blackhawks tomorrow afternoon. At the same time, it's important to kind of embrace this experience and enjoy it.

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Celebrity chef Goldman has recipes for Classic feast

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Celebrity chef Duff Goldman knows a bit about hockey.

He played the sport through college, including on the club team during his time at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He still plays when he can and remains a huge fan of the game.

Still, he was surprised by what greeted him upon his arrival at Nationals Park on Tuesday to check out the preparations for the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

The ice surface was finished and many of the trimmings were already in place. As a result, Goldman could envision what will greet fans, including himself, on Thursday when the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals take part in the latest NHL outdoor game (1 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, TVA).

"Everything looks so great," said Goldman, the owner of Charm City Cakes in Baltimore and the star of "Ace of Cakes" and other shows on Food Network, including a new show, "Duff Till Dawn," which will soon debut. "The setup is amazing and you can see how spectacular it is going to be when this place is filled."

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Capitals' Ovechkin focused solely on team success

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Alex Ovechkin's level of introspection grew with each answer he gave during a nine-minute impromptu press conference in the Washington Capitals dressing room at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va., on Tuesday.

The questions started out broad, almost as a way to gauge Ovechkin's interest in discussing his role in the growth of the Capitals over the past decade and how they've come so far, yet still have so far to go:

Is hosting the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Thursday a signature moment for you as the face of the Washington Capitals?

"It's not about one person who makes it," Ovechkin said. "Every guy who has been here does a certain job and I'm one of them. When you look back where we started and where we are now, it's a great feeling and a great time."

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NHL issues fan reminders for Thursday's 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic

NHL.com

WASHINGTON -- The National Hockey League would like to remind fans attending Thursday's 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® (1 p.m., ET, NBC, CBC, TVA) about some traffic, parking and security matters:

* Gates at Nationals Park will open at 11 a.m. We encourage all fans to arrive early as to allow enough time to proceed through security checks.

* NO bags larger than 16” X 16” X 8” will be allowed into the stadium. All bags are subject to search.

* All guests require a ticket for entry regardless of age.

* No third-party Will Call will be accepted.

* Spectator Plaza presented by GEICO, a free fan festival, will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on January 1 at the Fairgrounds (directly outside the Center Field Gate of Nationals Park) with additional activities on Half Street.

* Be sure to check the weather forecast and dress appropriately.

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Year in review: 14 most memorable people of 2014

Wednesday, 12.31.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

There were unforgettable events and memorable moments across the hockey world in 2014, from "The Big House" to Bolshoy Ice Dome, New York to Los Angeles, Montreal to Boston, Toronto, Chicago, and so many other places.

Here are the 14 people who were front and center in those events, seemingly ordinary people doing extraordinary things, making them the most memorable people in the hockey world in 2014:

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins/Canada

Crosby had the best year for a player who didn't win the Stanley Cup, or even get past the second round in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

He captained Canada to a gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, waiting until the most important moment of the tournament, the gold-medal game, to make his biggest imprint. Crosby scored the goal that gave Canada a 2-0 lead against Sweden, all but clinching their second straight Olympic gold.

He cleaned up at the 2014 NHL Awards show by taking home the Hart Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award and the Art Ross Trophy for leading the League with 104 points, 17 more than anybody else. He received 128 of a possible 137 first-place votes for the Hart Trophy.

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Denmark gets first-ever WJC victory; Slovakia wins

Tuesday, 12.30.2014 / 11:58 PM / 2015 World Junior Championship

NHL.com

Denmark defeated Switzerland 4-3 in a shootout for its first win at the top level of the World Junior Championship after 15 losses over three appearances.

Nikolaj Ehlers (Winnipeg Jets) and Oliver Bjorkstrand (Columbus Blue Jackets) scored in the shootout for Denmark. Goalie Georg Sorensen made 42 saves and stopped two of three shootout participants.

Kris Schmidli and Kevin Fiala (Nashville Predators) scored in the first period to give Switzerland a 2-0 lead. Bjorkstrand scored with 2:02 left in the period to make it 2-1.

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EPIX captures Capitals, Blackhawks at Christmas

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

There are stops along the road to the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic that show the true identity and personality of the players and coaches involved. These are stops that go beyond hockey, off the ice, into their homes, their private lives.

Hockey players for the most part like to be seen as ordinary people who can do extraordinary things. Around Christmas their extraordinary gifts melt away as family life takes over and they become ordinary people doing ordinary things with holiday traditions that are no grander than those of the average working family.

The third episode of "EPIX Presents Road to the NHL Winter Classic" brings the viewer in touch with the people many of these athletes and coaches are away from the game.

The viewer got to spend Christmas with Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville and his family in Vail, Col., with Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz and his family at their home in Clarendon, Va., with Joel Ward and his girlfriend in New York City, and with Troy Brouwer and his wife and 2-year-old daughter in their home. Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson served as the viewer's host at his Swedish Christmas celebration.


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Quote of the Day

He's a winner. We want winners here, and he's a proven winner. He's won two Stanley Cups. He's 22 years old and been a big part of it. He's got all the right tools. He's got size (6-foot-1, 204 pounds) and strength. He's exactly what we were looking for. He's going to be a big piece of our team for many, many years to come.

— Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen on Brandon Saad, who he acquired in a trade with the Blackhawks on Tuesday
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