The Washington Capitals will host the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 Winter Classic on New Year’s Day at a yet-to-be-announced location, an individual with knowledge of the situation confirmed Friday morning.
The Capitals will be playing in their second Winter Classic after visiting Pittsburgh in 2011, but will be hosting for the first time. The site has not yet been named, though sources indicated that Nationals Park remains the odds-on favorite, with only paperwork left to be finalized before the news is released.
Washington and Chicago met twice in 2013-14, in the regular-season opener and the penultimate game for both sides. The Blackhawks won at home, 6-4, on Oct. 1; the Capitals posted a 4-0 shutout at Verizon Center on April 11. The sides have split eight regular-season meetings over the past four seasons. Last season, the Blackhawks reached the Western Conference finals before losing to eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles in seven games. The Capitals, meanwhile, missed the postseason for the first time since 2006-07 and parted ways with their head coach (Adam Oates) and general manager (George McPhee).
The outdoor game also offers an opportunity for President Barack Obama, a former Chicago resident, to finally attend a Washington NHL game, something that has drawn petitions and seen the launch of the Barack the Red web sites. At least one current Capitals player is angling for this to happen.
— Eric Fehr (@EricFehr) June 20, 2014
The Blackhawks have played in two outdoor games, including the 2009 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field. Per Adam Vingan, this marks the first inter-conference Winter Classic.
The news of the matchup was first reported by Bob McKenzie of TSN. The full 2014-15 NHL regular season schedule is expected to be announced Sunday, with home openers released on Saturday. The NHL is expected to have, per reports, only one other outdoor game, taking place in the Bay Area.