Day 1 Guide at Heinz Field: The Ice, the Players, and the New Start Time

Mike Green Ice Crew: The defenseman helps Capitals coaches and fellow teammate patch a hole on the ice at Heinz Field.

Mike Green said after the Caps skated Friday afternoon (by 5 pm, it was still in the 50’s) that he probably skated in weather this warm before as a kid, but never with his full gear on for a full practice.

“It was different — it was getting hot out there,” he said. “It was tough to breathe out there.”

Mike Knuble leads the Capitals out of the locker rooms and to the rink for the team practice at Heinz Field.

The ice took the hardest toll, and Green had to lend a hand patching a veritable crater in the ice near one of the blue lines.

Nicklas Backstrom said he thought he’d skated in weather this warm as a kid, but he admitted the ice was soft.

The first Capital to step out on the ice was Eric Fehr, though Brooks Laich wasn’t far behind. Mike Knuble led the Capitals out of the locker room, although Backstrom said the order was random.

“We just told each other we go out together, so it looks good,” Backstrom said.

Knuble said so far today that he hasn’t experienced any butterflies like those first few years in the NHL. He said it took him about three or four years in the league before nerves matured into a more focused anxiousness.

“You stop getting nervous, that means, I guess, you’re not respecting the game,” Knuble said. “To do you’re best, you’ve got to be anxious a little bit.”

The Capitals also had a family skate after they completed practice today (the Penguins did the same). Matt Bradley was on the ice briefly with the Capitals when they first came to the rink, but he did not practice with them.

The NHL has also announced that, due to the rain in the forecast, the league will delay puck drop tomorrow. The new start time is 8 pm, which means you’ll get the best of two sports worlds — night lights and outdoor hockey.

Nicklas Backstrom practices at Heinz Field.

This entry was posted in Mike Green, Mike Knuble, Nicklas Backstrom, Winter Classic. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Day 1 Guide at Heinz Field: The Ice, the Players, and the New Start Time

  1. dean foster says:

    Question: We go to Kettler Iceplex often to watch the Capitals practices. Can anyone tell us what the signficance,if any, is of the different color of practice jersey a player wears?
    I see red, black, green and grey.
    Thank you.

  2. Hi, Dean…I checked with Dave Nichols at Caps News Network on this and the OFB team, just to make sure I had it right. As I understand it, the colors denote a couple of things — most often for forwards, they’re used to signify 1st line, 2nd line, etc. although you will probably have a couple of the extra forwards wearing colors that may not match up with their lines. The colors can also determine things like no contact (if a player is injured), according to OFB’s Andrew Tomlinson.

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