One of the National Hockey League's best rivalries takes center stage on New Year's Day when the Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins play in the fourth annual Winter Classic.
Representatives from both teams took part in a news conference Tuesday at Heinz Field, home of the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers and site of this season's event.
It's a natural showcase for the NHL. Pittsburgh, led by star center Sidney Crosby, won the Stanley Cup in 2009. Washington and star left wing Alex Ovechkin finished with the league's best record last season. The two teams have developed a heated rivalry, fueled by comparisons between Crosby and Ovechkin and their teams' classic seven-game Stanley Cup playoff series in 2009.
"The teams that play in the Winter Classic are the teams that hockey fans and sports fans want to see," Caps team president Dick Patrick said in remarks broadcast on NHL Network. "So we take it as an honor to be selected for this game."
The Caps actually beat the Penguins in all four meetings last season. Pittsburgh is playing in the Winter Classic for the second time in four years. Crosby scored the game-winning goal against Buffalo to win the inaugural event in 2008.
"It's going to be incredible," Crosby told NHL Network. "Obviously, a lot of us played in the last one in Buffalo. Everyone knows the matchup with [Washington] and the rivalry there. ... You just try to take it all in and at the end of the day realize we're all lucky to play in it."