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Capitals, Penguins expected to play NHL Winter Classic at Heinz Field

Monday, March 29, 2010; D05

The Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins remain virtual locks to play in next year's Winter Classic, and according to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sunday, the game is "likely" to take place at Heinz Field.

The report suggested that only a few details remain to be worked out in order for the NHL to bring its New Year's Day showcase to the 65,000-seat home of the NFL's Steelers.

A source confirmed that the Capitals and Penguins are front-runners and that the league has scouted sites in Washington, New York and Pittsburgh, including Heinz Field. But the source stopped short of confirming the report, adding that contracts have not been signed and that no announcement is imminent.

News of his team's potential involvement surprised Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau, who said: "Why would I be opposed to it? Like anything else, if we're lucky enough to be involved in that game, I would love to have it in our area [and] show the country how good [our] fans [are]."

The Post-Gazette also said that the Steelers will play a home game Thursday, Dec. 23, and then finish the regular season on the road to accommodate the NHL. It normally takes about two weeks to prepare an outdoor rink.

The Penguins participated in the inaugural Winter Classic in 2008.

-- Tarik El-Bashir

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