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Sunday January 2, 2011 6:58 pm

Washington Capitals win Winter Classic; real hockey returns




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, NHL,

Sidney CrosbySaturday night’s Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic was anything but that in every sense. The winter snow was replaced by a spring rain, an exclusive daytime affair was delayed to become one of seven concurrent games, and the Crosby-Ovechkin rivalry was nowhere to be found. Still, 68,111 marched in to Heinz Field and saw their hometown Penguins slosh their way to a 3-1 loss in a game where all hype and momentum leading up to it would have suggested a very opposite score.

Chances are you won’t find a single player who will say anything other than that the game itself was “fun,” because as we all know, the league can do no wrong, and what kind of problems can happen during an outdoor hockey game in a football stadium? In reality, while this kind of game is still a novelty for fans, it’s anything but traditional hockey for the players, from the terrible ice conditions to the cold temperature and this year, to the televisions in the locker room.

On the ice it was less the Sidney Crosby show as Washington’s Eric Fehr stole the spotlight, scoring two goals on three shots. In net, Olympic gold medalist Marc-Andre Fleury was outshined by backup Capitals netminder Semyon Varlamov, who stopped 32 of 33 shots en route to his seventh win of the season. All the storylines built up durying HBO’s 24/7 series seemed to be absent from the game itself. Varlamov was the only highlight in an otherwise dreary game.

Seemingly the biggest moment of the game turned out to be when Crosby was hit by David Steckel near the end of the second period. That turned out to be as much of a non-factor as the Penguins’ play throughout the game. Maybe next year the Winter Classic should feature Ty Conklin again. Knowing how superstitious sports, he’ll probably be seen as a good luck charm and having him will mean a few more things go right.

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