Jan 2, 2011, 12:56 AM EDT
After what turned out to be an incredible night of hockey outdoors at Heinz Field, albeit a bit on the soggy side, the Capitals came away with a 3-1 win to send their fans home happy and the homestanding fans away feeling gloomy.
As for the game, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was disappointed with the loss but the first question that came to him was about the controversial hit he took from David Steckel at the end of the second period. If you’re wondering why there was no retribution for the Pens captain getting taken out, Sid says there’s a good reason.
“I just found out two seconds ago who it was. I couldn’t even tell you what happened. I think the puck was going the other way. And I turned and next thing you know, I am down. I can’t really comment on it,” Crosby said.
Crosby was unhurt by the hit but recounted the situation not really sure how dirty the hit was, if at all.
“It’s pretty far behind the play. Maybe the refs didn’t see it. A lot of people didn’t. Got [hit] in my head, that’s for sure. But I don’t know how it developed.”
As for the victorious Capitals, their post game chatter was much more jubilant and blown away by the entire setting outdoors in front of 68,111 fans, even more so with the heavy representation of Caps fans in Pittsburgh.
“You can see, you can hear when we score goals how many people were fans of Washington,” Alex Ovechkin happily recalled.
“When it was the National Anthem, and they are screaming… It was unbelievable.”
Caps coach Bruce Boudreau added to that sentiment.
“When you walk and you see all those people in there and whether they’re booing or cheering, it’s an experience I’ll never forget. And when you come into this atmosphere and you’re playing arguably the best team in the league and you win, it was more than just a game to everybody.”
With the weather conditions being as seemingly difficult as they were, none of the players or coaches had any complaints about what went down tonight. They made it clear that it was affecting both teams so no one got an unfair advantage out of it. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman made it clear that the NHL did everything in their power to ensure the integrity of the ice and the game.
“We (Bettman, Colin Campbell, Dan Craig) were at every stoppage, in communication with the officials and both teams and no one was complaining about it.”
Bettman then added this bit that’s likely to get over analyzed by everyone:
“And I’ve heard ice complaints when we’re indoors in a lot of places as well. I think we were fine, just fine.”
The weather tonight is going to be more of a talking point than the game and that’s really disappointing, all things considered, but it wasn’t an issue for the guys playing. Period.
The rain did create issues for the fans in the stands for sure and the elements are a virtually unavoidable aspect in a game like this, but the commissioner does make a good point about the pace of the game. Yes, the passes weren’t as crisp as you’d expect and the offensive creativity was missing in this environment but the teams adjusted to make it work for them. You make the best with what you’ve got and the Capitals certainly did that tonight.
In that respect it makes it similar to playing in a building when it’s 90 degrees outside and the ice is soft and choppy. The speed gets cut down and teams have to win games a bit dirtier than with finesse and skill. For some teams that works in their favor and not so much for others. For teams as good as Washington and Pittsburgh, they could make the right adjustments.
All in all, both teams were grateful for the experience to play tonight both coaches made it clear that having this experience makes it all worthwhile. Basking in the atmosphere here tonight was unlike anything I’ve ever seen and it left as much of an impression on me as it did with the players. All right, not quite as much as celebrating a win or playing in front of that many home fans but memorable just the same.
Jul 1, 2015, 2:06 PM EDT
Both spent the last few seasons playing in the KHL.
Jul 1, 2015, 2:01 PM EDT
One of the Senators’ main penalty-killers last season.
Jul 1, 2015, 1:47 PM EDT
One year, $1.25 million.
Jul 1, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT
Former Jets forward scores a big-money deal.
Jul 1, 2015, 1:29 PM EDT
27-year-old never really panned out in Boston.
Jul 1, 2015, 1:22 PM EDT
Having already signed former Canuck Brad Richardson.
Jul 1, 2015, 1:11 PM EDT
Nice raise after playing for $700,000 in Pittsburgh last season.
Jul 1, 2015, 1:08 PM EDT
End of an era in Toronto. A premier goal-scoring winger heads to Pittsburgh.
Jul 1, 2015, 1:08 PM EDT
All the signings from what promises to be a busy day.
Jul 1, 2015, 1:07 PM EDT
Finnish forward coming off a strong first season in St. Louis.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:56 PM EDT
Jul 1, 2015, 12:54 PM EDT
Steve Mason has a new backup.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:48 PM EDT
One of the prized UFA d-men, off the market.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:46 PM EDT
Peter Chiarelli, making moves.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:32 PM EDT
Spent last year as Marc-Andre Fleury’s No. 2 in Pittsburgh.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:25 PM EDT
Will be expected to provide a steadying presence on Colorado’s blue line.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:23 PM EDT
Former Ranger gets a nice deal on the opening day of free agency.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:18 PM EDT
Big d-man sticks for one more year in the ‘Peg.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:12 PM EDT
Chuck Fletcher takes care of business early on July 1.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:11 PM EDT
Led all Vancouver d-men with 11 goals.
- Blockbuster: Kessel traded to the Penguins 75
- PHT’s 2015 free agent frenzy tracker 27
- Oilers get Sekera for six years, closing in on Letestu 6
- Avalanche sign veteran d-man Beauchemin for three years 5
- Neely was ‘surprised’ that Hamilton didn’t want to sign with Bruins 14
- NHL, Coyotes deny report that team is moving to Vegas 32
- Report: Richards’ border incident involved oxycodone 63
- Trade: Bieksa headed to California — but it’s Anaheim, not San Jose 25
- Trade: Jackets land Saad, Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago 91
- Hamilton signs six-year deal with Flames 19
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (105)
- Trade: Jackets land Saad, Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago (91)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (90)
- Trade: Flames land Dougie Hamilton for package of picks (75)
- Blockbuster: Kessel traded to the Penguins (74)