Caps Take It Outside (Photos)

Posted by Cheryl Nichols | Thursday, December 30, 2010 | , , , , | 3 comments »

The Washington Capitals travel to Pittsburgh on Thursday afternoon for this weekend's Fourth Annual NHL Winter Classic.  Before heading up, the Caps had a closed practice outdoors at the Chevy Chase Club rink to prepare for skating outside on Wednesday afternoon.

Most of the Caps have only played outside when they were very young and by the looks on many faces, they were transported back in time while out on the ice.  Mike Knuble had a big grin on his face for most of practice.  Defenseman Karl Alzner said, ""It's a lot of fun. We wish the whole season was played outdoors."

Jason Chimera mentioned playing outdoors with buddies on weekends that would start in the early morning, then have lunch at the rink and continue to play hockey until dark.  Chimera is from Edmondton, Canada where "there is an outdoor rink in every community" he said. Chimmy is the only current Capitals player that has played outside professionally. He played for the Edmonton Oilers in the 2003 Heritage Classic.

The Caps usually practice in the morning around 10:30 or 11 a.m., however, practiced at 1 p.m. on Wednesday because that is the same time of the Winter Classic on Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Playing outside in the afternoon also meant dealing with the bright sunshine and glare off the ice.  Many players experimented with eye black. Some got creative like John Carlson and Matt Hendricks who were sporting a warrior type design on their cheeks. 

Alex Ovechkin was the one that stood out. Not only did he put the eye block under his eyes, but continued over the bridge of his nose to make one long straight line.  The eye black ring around the mouth was the attention getter.  There are a few pictures below because words just can't describe it. Ovi told the media that he just wanted to have fun and it was a joke.  The Great Eight also made it clear that while playing outside was fun, "its practice" with a seriousness in his voice.

The wind in Pittsburgh could have an impact on the game so Coach Boudreau ran the players through sprints at the end of practice to experience difference between indoor and outdoor sprints.  "I wanted to skate them a little bit to see if the wind affects" them, Boudreau said. "It's amazing, going one way against even a two mile per hour wind is a little bit different."

Overall, practice went well and Caps are very excited about the big game.  Boudreau said that Tom Poti, Mathieu Perrault and Marcus Johansson will all be ready to play.

Caps practice at 10:30 a.m. at Kettler Capitals Iceplex (open to public) on Thursday before flying to Pittsburgh.

Enjoy the photos.  See you in Pittsburgh!

All Photos 2010 © Cheryl Nichols Photography/Capitals News Network.
All Rights Reserved.

Brooks Laich


Matt Hendricks rocking eye black

John Erskine grew the mustache back - always a good thing.

Laich and Hendricks enjoy practicing outside

No way Jeff Schultz was going to let a broken hand
come between him and the Winter Classic!

Backstrom, Chimera and Boudreau

Captain America John Carlson was also rocking the eye black

Caps Defensemen: Alzner, Poti, Green and Carlson

Ovi after he missed a goal


Knuble and Sloan during scrimmage

Sasha and Ovi


Mathieu Perrault expects to play in WC

Coach Bruce Boudreau

Jay Beagle

DJ King looks like he's ready to beat up a Penguin!

David Steckel

Scott Hannan

Jason Chimera

Mike Knuble smiling like he's remembering days as a kid on the ice

Karl Alzner

Mike Green

Nicklas Backstrom looks focused.


Eric Fehr

Coach Bob Woods

During a quick meeting at bench. Nicky is thinking about how to score.


Tom Poti

Ovi got creative with the eye black! Went over his brow and around his mouth.

Tyler Sloan

Captain Ovechkin

Boudreau with press after practice

Knuble walked off rink after practice and gave his gloves to kids

This little guy was very excited to receive a Mike Knuble glove!

View of practice from end of rink as guys walked off.

Caps video of practice.


  1. Rob // December 30, 2010 at 8:46 AM  

    Awesome stuff as always, Cheryl! Have a blast in Pittsburgh!

  2. Cheryl Nichols // December 30, 2010 at 9:47 AM  

    Thank you Rob! Happy New Year.

  3. Hockey Mom // December 30, 2010 at 3:06 PM  

    What fabulous photos! Have a great time and can't wait to hear your thoughts on the Classic!