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2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - Capitals v. Penguins

Even in defeat, playing at Consol a thrill for RMU

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH -- It wasn't the storybook ending the Robert Morris hockey team wanted, but it was a special day nonetheless.

The Pittsburgh-based university with an enrollment of about 5,000 can say they were part of the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic after their 4-3 loss Thursday to the Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Technology at Consol Energy Center, home of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Colonials have played in Mellon Arena a few times over the years and once earlier this season at Consol, but playing in an NHL arena hasn't gotten old just yet.

"It's a huge deal. I never thought I'd get a chance to play in this arena growing up," said sophomore defenseman Brendan Jamison, a Pittsburgh native. "This is my second game here, third game at a pro arena. It gets better each time because you look forward to it for a month or so and when you're here you're awed by the arena. Growing up here, it's great."

Ovi excited as Caps arrive in Pittsburgh

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals arrived in Pittsburgh on Thursday and the captain, one of the two stars of the upcoming show on Saturday at Heinz Field, immediately felt the buzz that's been prevalent in this city all week long as the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic draws near.

"I'm pretty excited," Ovechkin told at Consol Energy Center, where he came to see the Caps' AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. "I can see the atmosphere, lots of people are here now and it's always nice when you get so much attention and people want to see you and get excited. So, it's nice."

Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby are at the center of this bitter rivalry between the Capitals and Penguins, but both stress that the competition and contention goes way beyond them. Ovechkin stressed how much he loves being a part of something so fierce, so interesting and so publicized.

Close, but no Classic for recently demoted Pens, Caps

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

PITTSBURGH -- The special Winter Classic uniform looked good on him and the brand new equipment felt just right, but Andrew Gordon has no idea where all of that is right now and he pretty much assumes he'll never see it again.

Gordon played eight games for the Washington Capitals this month and had his first career NHL goal "immortalized on HBO," he told But unless something crazy happens between now and Saturday he'll be in Hershey, Pa. when the main event, the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Caps and Pittsburgh Penguins, is taking place at Heinz Field.

The Capitals sent Gordon and Keith Aucoin down to the Hershey Bears of the AHL on Wednesday. Similarly, after playing three games and recording two points with the Penguins, Dustin Jeffrey was shipped to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this past Sunday. Goaltender John Curry joined him a few days later.

Super Mario returns in Pens-Caps alumni game

Super Mario will be back on the ice Friday morning, and he's bringing a host of other alumni from his Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals with him.

Final rosters have been set for Friday's alumni game at 9:30 a.m. at Heinz Field featuring the return to the ice of Lemieux, the current Penguins' owner and former superstar.

The alumni game, which will stream live on from 9:15-11 a.m., will be the first official event on the Winter Classic rink at Heinz Field. NHL Network will present a one-hour special on Wednesday, Jan. 5.

Winter Classic goes Green

As part of its NHL Green sustainability initiative, the National Hockey League announced Thursday that it has joined with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Heinz Field and League partners to make the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1 an environmentally friendly fan event.

Having launched NHL Green one year ago with a panel discussion on sustainability at Boston’s Fenway Park in conjunction with the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, the NHL is endeavoring to ensure that the latest edition of the New Year’s Day tradition has as little impact upon the environment as possible by purchasing carbon offsets, stocking merchandise stands with reusable bags and redistributing prepared food that goes unsold. 

In addition, the Pennsylvania Resources Council and its partners will collect recyclables at tailgating parties outside Heinz Field, and the Port Authority of Allegheny County, with support from Pepsi MAX, will offer transportation options to the game that will reduce fans’ carbon footprint.

Track latest Heinz Field weather updates

Weather has become one of the primary story lines of the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

Weather forecasts will be pored over on an almost hourly basis by League officials from now until Saturday's game is complete. Now, you, too, can track all the latest developments thanks to At right is a quick snapshot of the forecast for Heinz Field. You can use the links underneath for a more detailed look at Saturday's expected conditions.

Harris is larger than life in Steel City

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

"When I came in 1972, I was from the Philadelphia area and I was a Philadelphia fan. But over time, I became a big Penguins fan. I watch them on television and get to games once in a while. I really do enjoy it." -- Franco Harris

PITTSBURGH -- Franco Harris is kind of a big deal in the Steel City. People know him. That's comes with the territory when you're a key part of the Pittsburgh Steelers' four Super Bowl titles between 1975 and 1980.

Harris is so popular that his life-sized replica can be found at the Pittsburgh International Airport standing next to another popular figure in American history -- George Washington.

Is Harris a bigger deal in Pittsburgh than America's first president?

"Just during certain times of the year," Harris said with a laugh Thursday as he toured Heinz Field just two days before the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Classic storylines go well beyond Sid vs. Ovi

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

PITTSBURGH -- The bitter rivals can finally focus on the event that everybody in the NHL has been talking about for months.

As soon as the Pittsburgh Penguins headed off the ice following a 2-1 shootout loss Wednesday night on Long Island their attention turned to the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, arguably the most hyped regular season game in League history for a myriad of logical reasons.

The Washington Capitals had an extra 24 hours to think about the outdoor event because they played their last game prior to the Classic on Tuesday night and whitewashed the Canadiens, 3-0. Washington revved up for the game by practicing outdoors in Chevy Chase, Md. on Wednesday.

So here we are two days before we all ring in 2011 with a pair of teams that seriously do not like each other -- which, of course, adds extra spice to an event that is already quite tasty.

But what about the matchup? What about the Xs and Os? What about the strategies?

Final rosters set for Pens-Caps alumni game

Final rosters have been set for the Penguins-Capitals alumni game Friday at 9:30 a.m. at Heinz Field – featuring the return to the ice of Penguins great Mario Lemieux.

The alumni game will be the first official event on the Winter Classic rink at Heinz Field.

Caps all business -- well, mostly -- at outdoor skate

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

CHEVY CHASE, Md. -- A few of the Washington Capitals decided to get creative with the eye black when the team practiced outside Wednesday at Chevy Chase Club in preparation for the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

While other players went with a traditional thin line under each eye, John Carlson and Matt Hendricks covered much of their cheeks. Alex Ovechkin got even more, well, creative -- he gave himself an eye-black unibrow and mustache.

"Today's the day to experiment with that stuff,"Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We had a couple of Ultimate Warriors out there. I have no idea what [Ovechkin] was doing. He was different, anyway."
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