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Beagle: Win makes Winter Classic even more fun

by Jay Beagle /

Washington Capitals forward Jay Beagle played in his second Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Thursday at Nationals Park as his team skated off with a 3-2 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks. Beagle also suited up for Washington at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh in 2011.

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

WASHINGTON -- After all the hype for the past several weeks, today was finally the big day.

And what a day it was.

I knew I had to treat the Winter Classic the same way I would treat any other 1 o'clock game. I brought a little extra food to the stadium just in case they pushed back the start. I'm a pretty hungry guy, so I like to eat quite a bit. In fact, I'm starving right now.

It was actually a pretty nice morning today. I woke up and I got to hang out with my son for about two hours before I headed out. It was a really fun morning.

Everything about today was unbelievable. It was awesome coming out on to the ice at the start. We came out behind home plate when we practiced yesterday, but we had a grand entrance today from behind the centerfield fence. They carted the whole team from the dressing room on what almost looked like a train, it was huge. I think the Blackhawks took golf carts over there.

I think coming out at the start will always be a moment I'll never forget. Every time we scored, to hear the crowd erupt, you just don't get a better atmosphere than that. I think I'll remember that forever.

To get the win today is a big relief. When a game gets hyped up this much, both teams want to win so badly. There's so much media attention. I don't think there's more pressure to win on the home team in this game, but it's a big game no matter what. Whether you're home or away, you want to win.

We knew how good the Chicago Blackhawks were going into the game. We talked about it a lot. It was a game that we really wanted. It's probably one of the best teams in the League. It's a good momentum booster for us and a confidence booster. We know we still have a ways to go before the season is over and we're looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish.

But today, we wanted to win for our home crowd. To get that goal by Troy Brouwer with [13] seconds left, the bench erupted. It was nice because the crowd is basically standing on top of you a little bit more, at least more than the Winter Classic in Pittsburgh. They were a little further away, so this one felt a lot louder. We were screaming on the bench, it was pretty cool.

It was a great feeling to be a part of. The game today was a lot of fun. Even though it's over, there's little time to relax. We have to start focusing for the Florida Panthers on Sunday.

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