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2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - Capitals v. Penguins

Bylsma talks about Capitals, Staal and HBO

PITTSBURGH -- Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma met the media after Saturday's 3-1 Winter Classic loss. He spoke about numerous topics including Washington's style of play, Jordan Staal and the atmosphere at Heinz Field. Here's the transcript from his press conference.

Q. I'm just curious, there's been a lot of talk in the Washington room how they're evolving their style of play. Having played them twice fairly recently, what have you noticed in how differently they're playing?

COACH BYLSMA: I'm not sure I have seen a significant difference. Certainly tonight, and given the situation, they were content to get pucks out and get them deep and made it tough on us to try to mount something against them on the offense in the third period, made it difficult on us.

Sidney Crosby postgame interview

PITTSBURGH -- Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby met the media after Saturday's 3-1 Winter Classic loss at Heinz Field. He expressed disappointment about losing to an archrival, but quickly added it was a "privilege" to play in the League's Jan. 1 event. Here's the transcript from his press conference.

Q. Can you talk about what happened with Steckel?

SIDNEY CROSBY: I couldn't even tell you what happened. I think the puck was going the other way. And I turned and next thing I know, I am down. I can't really comment on it. It's pretty far behind the play. Maybe the refs didn't even see it. A lot of people didn't. But I don't even know. Got in my head, that's for sure. But I don't even know how it developed.

Bettman pre-game interview with NHL Network

Q. It's a privilege to welcome in the NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. Gary, it's been a wild and maybe a turbulent start to 2011 because you have a lot of decisions to make in the new year. Take us through the decision-making process to push this game now to a night game.

GARY BETTMAN: First of all, happy new year to you and to all our viewers. We became concerned early on in the week based on the preliminary weather forecasts that we were going to have a little bit of an issue with the weather this afternoon. And what was paramount to us was to, A, make sure we were only going to play under credible conditions where player safety wouldn't be an issue; and, B, we didn't want to inconvenience the fans. 65,000 people here. We didn't want to subject them to sitting in the rain or an endless wait. writers predict MVP, surprises, Classic moments

The Capitals-Penguins rivalry has earned plenty of media coverage, and that will be no exception tonight in a full Heinz Field press box. But here at we are always looking to super-serve the League's fans. So here, even before puck drop, our writers tell you who will win the game and who will star.

NHL's Craig meets most daunting challenge yet

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Dan Craig resorted to invention to get all of the rain water off the ice surface at Heinz Field on Saturday morning.
With the help of mechanics on his ice crew, Craig, who has been in the ice business for more than three decades, turned the ice-making machine into a giant wet vac to suck up the rain water instead of freezing it.
"We took over 3,600 gallons off the floor with the machines, maybe even closer to 3,800, and whatever might have leaked out the sidewalls," Craig told three hours before the opening faceoff for the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Saturday evening. "There was a lot of water out there. It was raining pretty good here this morning, from about 7 through until 9. It came through in sheets."

Pens' Michael Rupp used to big stage

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Michael Rupp has just one goal in 36 career playoff games, but it's the biggest one any NHL player can possibly have.

As a rookie with the New Jersey Devils in 2003, he scored the winner in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in a 3-0 victory against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Despite the magnitude of that goal, it's not something the Penguins forward thinks about all that much.

"I never really sit there and think about that. Sometimes I forget I only have one," Rupp said Saturday morning at Consol Energy Center, just hours before the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Heinz Field. "It's obviously a special one for me. You look for those opportunities. All of us want to be that guy who makes a difference for the team. Those games are always big ones and I love those ones."

Watch NHL Network pre-game, post-game shows

Starting at 5 p.m. ET today,  NHL Network is your must-stay-tuned channel for all things 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. NHL Network is planning a feast of pre-game and post-game programming from the Heinz Field rink in Pittsburgh. The pre-game show is 5 to 8 p.m.

The NHL Network pre-game crew features host David Amber and analysts Bob Errey and Olie Kolzig in the booth with field reporters Deb Placey and E.J. Hradek providing updates from ice level and locker rooms. Fans will get regular Pittsburgh weather updates too.

Pre-game guests include NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Pittsburgh Steelers President Art Rooney II, game show host Pat Sajak, NHL ice guru Dan Craig and plenty of interviews with Capitals and Penguins players and coaches at today’s morning skates.

Staal to make season debut at Winter Classic

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Leave it to a guy who learned how to play hockey as a kid skating on his dad's homemade outdoor rink to add even more drama to the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
Penguins center Jordan Staal will make his season debut Saturday night at Heinz Field when Pittsburgh takes on the Washington Capitals in the NHL's most hyped regular- season game -- one that ironically is played out of doors, just like the games of Staal's childhood.
Staal has not played since Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against Montreal on May 12, 2010.
He needed surgery to repair a severed tendon in his right foot, but that led to a pair of infections in that same foot. He finally started skating with the Penguins in late October and was due back for a game in Dallas on Nov. 3, but he broke his right hand two days earlier.

Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic is must-see TV

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

A friend who likes hockey but doesn't necessarily "like like" hockey asked why he should watch the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

What's so special about these teams that he should dedicate several hours of his life to watching them play a regular-season game? The simple answer is … everything.

If you don’t believe me, here's five reasons why you should flip to NBC  (in the U.S.) or CBC (in Canada) at 8 p.m. ET on New Year's Day.

Capitals-Penguins rivalry is the real thing

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby says the one thing the Pittsburgh Penguins can't do when it comes to the rivalry with the Washington Capitals is spend too much time thinking about who is wearing the other jersey -- or even what it looks like.

"You can't afford to," Crosby said Friday.

They don't have to.

Intensity is what makes a rivalry boil, and it never takes much for the Capitals and Penguins to turn up the burners. They'll have them on full blast Saturday night in the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
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