Pregame #40: Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2011 Winter Classic

Washington Capitals (22-12-5) at Pittsburgh Penguins (25-11-3)
Heinz Field
Time: 8:00 PM EST
Weather Forecast: National Weather Service
Radio: XM, 1500AM, 820AM
Viewing Party: Union Jack’s at the Ballston Common Mall in Arlington, VA
Previous Games:
Dec 23, 2010 PIT@WSH 2-3 SOL
Games Remaining:
Feb 6, 2011 PIT@WSH 12:30 PM ET
Feb 21, 2011 WSH@PIT 7:30 PM ET
Friendly Faces of Former Capitals: Matt Cooke (2008), Brent Johnson (2005-09)
The Enemy:
The Pensblog
Puck Huffers

Editor’s Note – the game has already been DELAYED UNTIL 8 PM

This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for, it’s time for the Winter Classic.

Injury Report: Winger Matt Bradley (broken finger), center Boyd Gordon (infected foot), and enforcer D.J. King (undisclosed) are on injured reserve.

The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without hulking center Jordan Staal indefinitely with multiple ailments. Forward Mike Comrie is also on injured reserve with a lower body injury.

What to watch for:

Sid’s New Streak: The NHL’s leader in Points and Goals saw his scoring streak (of 25 games) come to an end Wednesday against Rick DiPietro and the Islanders, which means he’s got a new NON scoring streak of 1 game.

Saccharine Storylines: The biggest drawback to the National Audience and HBO specials and omni-present hyper-dramatic promotional spots is that NBC is going to want to throw in a little “human interest” for the wives and casual fans and shut-ins that will be tuning in.

The Weather Outside is Frightful: Speaking of staring longingly across a football stadium in the rain…guess what’s (a) really bad for ice, and (b) in the forecast. Word on the street is that while the NHL is mindful of the fans pouring into Pittsburgh from all corners of the country, they’re not going to hesitate to push the puck drop back as long as needed. The rain is currently scheduled to clear out by early afternoon, so don’t be surprised if this ends up being a prime-time broadcast.