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NHL Stadium Series

Stadium Series outdoor practices canceled because of weather

Rain, high winds in forecast alter plans for Capitals, Maple Leafs

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / Staff Writer

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Because of the weather, the Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs won't be able to practice at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, on Friday before playing in the 2018 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVAS, NHL.TV).

The Capitals and Maple Leafs will practice indoors instead with the forecast calling for rain and high winds in Annapolis.

The Maple Leafs will practice at John McMullen Hockey Arena at the Brigade Sports Complex in Annapolis. The Capitals will practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Virginia.

"From what we were told by the NHL, they're going to disassemble the boards and what have you (at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium) because of the high winds that are possible," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said Thursday. "So, we'll skate here and then we'll head over [to Annapolis] later in the day."

Trotz said the plan is for the Capitals to hold their morning skate at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Saturday, if weather permits.

Video: 2018 Stadium Series time-lapse in Annapolis, Maryland

"It will be nice to get out there once," Trotz said. "The League would like us to skate on the new ice. Also, from just getting [used to the surroundings], everything looks different. Especially for the players, the depth perception is a little bit different because they're used to people right up against the glass and now they're going to be back."

This will be the third outdoor game for each team. The Capitals defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 in the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh and defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in the 2015 Winter Classic at Nationals Park in Washington D.C.

The Maple Leafs defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout in the 2014 Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium and won 5-4 in overtime against the Red Wings in the 2017 Scotiabank NHL Centennial Classic at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto.

"We're looking forward to it, obviously," Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin said. "The most important thing is hopefully the weather is going to be fine and the fans and we are going to enjoy the time and the atmosphere."

The Capitals players were disappointed the teams' family skates that were scheduled to follow their practices Friday were also canceled.

"I don't have a lot of family, but that would have been real cool," defenseman John Carlson said. "That's a family thing that you get some pictures and kind of marks one of the greatest parts of the experience other than playing in the game. So, that's a bummer, but with Mother Nature you can't stop it."

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