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2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - Capitals v. Penguins

NHL's Collins driving force for HBO venture

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

"If we're going to let somebody in to our regular season with two of our model franchises and next to the Stanley Cup one of our biggest events, we want to be partnering with someone like HBO."
-- John Collins, Chief Operating Officer of the NHL

John Collins is too diligent and too meticulous to let just any cameras barge into the NHL's regular season and turn on the lights for an all-access look.

HBO Sports isn't just any cameras or any network. HBO Sports is the pinnacle of sports reality TV.

Collins, Chief Operating Officer of the NHL, knows this not from just being an avid viewer, but from experience. As part of his gig during his 15-year tenure at the National Football League, Collins worked hand-in-hand with NFL Films President Steve Sabol and HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg to make sure the phenomenon that is "Hard Knocks" got launched properly in 2001.

NHL, HBO announce 24/7 series featuring Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and NHL Winter Classic

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin are known for holding nothing back on the ice. Come December, when HBO's cameras start rolling and the two superstar captains take leading roles in a real-life documentary about the NHL's best present-day rivalry, the world will find out how "The Kid" and "Ovi" prepare to go all out.

It should be revealing. It will be entertaining.

The NHL and HBO Sports announced Thursday their partnership for a groundbreaking, four-episode series as part of the network's 12-time Emmy Award-winning "24/7" reality TV franchise that will go deep into the inner workings of the Capitals-Penguins rivalry leading up to the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, which will be played Jan. 1 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

Classic announcement marks the beginning of fun time

Sergei J. Feldman - Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH -- The natural tan suggested his freshness and offseason enjoyment, while the ear-to-ear smile suggested the excitement to play in the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1, 2011, in Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field against the host Penguins.

And while the event is months away, Washington Capitals forward David Steckel knows that with a snap of a finger, it’ll be time to drop the puck for one of the NHL's most anticipated events.

"We have a month and a half until training camp yet," he said, "but I bet you this game is going to come around right around the corner."

Winter Classic great opportunity for Talbot, Dupuis

Sergei J. Feldman - Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH -- They say winning never gets old.

Well, neither does playing in the annual Winter Classic.

Unless, of course, you merely receive a Certificate of Participation, as was the case with Pittsburgh Penguins forward Maxime Talbot when his team visited Buffalo in the first such event, Jan. 1, 2008.
Talbot was nursing an injury at the time and was reduced to a spectator with a rooting interest. Now, as the hockey world prepares for the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic in Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field on Jan. 1, 2011, Talbot looks forward to actually taking the ice.

Winter Classic a hot topic in steamy Pittsburgh

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

PITTSBURGH -- The NHL brought the heat -- literally and figuratively -- to Heinz Field Tuesday to announce many of the details surrounding the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

The temperature on the field for the press conference was well above 90 degrees as direct sunlight baked everything in its path -- including the dignitaries on stage to discuss details of the New Year's Day game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals, two of the League's hottest teams who just happened to be involved in the one of hottest on-ice rivalries in today's NHL.

In addition to hockey talk in July, the Winter Classic logo and the team logos for the game were introduced and a first glimpse of how the ice rink will be laid out on the Heinz Field playing surface was provided. Yet it was the two teams that remained the stars of Tuesday's show.

"If you enjoy rivalries, Capitals-Penguins may be our best," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "If you enjoy the sight of team captains providing passionate leadership and game-breaking skill, you can't do much better than Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. If you can't get enough star power, both teams are loaded with it."

Crosby a happy host in second Winter Classic

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

PITTSBURGH -- Despite the myriad of incredible moments that already litter his still-young NHL career, Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby takes little for granted.

He understands he has been blessed with the opportunity to play in the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, his second such game in the four-year history of the New Year's Day hockey spectacle.

Crosby was the star of the inaugural Winter Classic in 2008, scoring the deciding goal against host Buffalo in a shootout through a snow squall at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Now, he gets a chance to top that iconic moment this New Year's Day when his Penguins host the rival Washington Capitals at Heinz Field.

Throughout a question-and-answer session with reporters Tuesday, Crosby repeatedly stressed how fortunate he and his teammates are to take part in another installment of what has become the signature event of the NHL regular season.

In Pittsburgh, summer gives way to a Winter Classic

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

PITTSBURGH -- Despite a near-perfect summer day Tuesday, Pittsburgh already is thinking cold, as in what could well be a winter wonderland Jan. 1, 2011.

Some of the plans for the biggest event of the NHL's regular season -- the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic -- will be unveiled during a Tuesday afternoon press conference at Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers and site of this coming season's Classic.

The fourth installment of the Winter Classic, to be played at the sparkling home of the Steelers, will feature the hometown Penguins hosting the Washington Capitals in a marquee matchup that will pit the game's two biggest stars -- Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and Washington's Alex Ovechkin -- against each other before a national television audience in a game broadcast by NBC in the United States and CBC in Canada.

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