2011 NHL Winter Classic

2012 2011 NHL Winter Classic (known via corporate sponsorship as the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic) was an outdoor regular season National Hockey League (NHL) game that was played on January 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The visiting Washington Capitals defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 3 1. ET start time to 8:00 due to weather concerns,[1][2] was telecast on NBC in the USA, and CBC (English) and RDS (French) in Canada. Pittsburgh native Jackie Evancho performed the Star Spangled Banner and Pittsburgh sports legends Mario Lemieux, Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis presided over the ceremonial dropping of the puck, and during the second intermission Harris and Bettis hosted a fan event at the outside rink.[3]

The 2011 Winter Classic was the second time the Penguins participated in an outdoor NHL game; the team previously visited the Buffalo Sabres for the inaugural Winter Classic in 2008.[4] Most notably, the Classic pitted two recent number one draft picks against each other: Penguins center Sidney Crosby (2005) and Capitals winger Alexander Ovechkin (2004); both players entered the league in the same year, 2005, due to the 2004 05 NHL lockout and contributed to a rivalry between the two teams that has been growing since the early 1990s. All major weather outlets forecast unseasonably warm temperatures for the day of the game, with the possibility of rain. Heavy or constant rain was the greater concern for the NHL, as it could eventually make the ice surface unplayable. Light rain would have frozen on contact and made the surface uneven, while hard rain could have possibly flooded the rink. Early on the NHL had contingency plans to push the game back to January if necessary, but preferred not to do so since this would have conflicted with telecasts of NFL If neither date had reasonable weather, the game would have been postponed and the matchup rescheduled indoors at Consol Energy Center later in the season.

Effect on CBC broadcast schedule[edit]

For Hockey Night in Canada, the seven hour delay on the broadcast schedule caused the classic to be completely preempted in the province of Ontario. The network's coverage of the NHL that night began with the Battle of Ontario at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa at 7pm ET, and broke away to the Classic outside Ontario. Army Sergeant First Class Bradley T. Due to high winds, the teams changed sides an additional time, at the first whistle after the halfway point of the third period. This was done at exactly the halfway point of the third period in 2008 because of falling snow and again in 2009 due to high winds.

^ Brent titans game worn jerseys Johnson dressed for the Pittsburgh Penguins as the back up goalie and did not enter the game.

^ Michal Neuvirth dressed for the Washington Capitals as the back up goalie and did not enter the game.

Washington Capitals: Tom Poti, Tyler Sloan titans indigenous jerseys

Pittsburgh Penguins: Eric Godard, Chris Conner, Ben Lovejoy

Referees Paul Devorski, Stephen Walkom

Linesmen Pierre Champoux, Derek AmellThe game garnered the highest ratings in Classic history on American television and a 22 percent increase in viewership compared to the previous year, capturing a 2.3 rating and 4.5 million viewers . Overall, the game was the most watched NHL contest in the United States since 1996, and the most watched regular season NHL game since 1975.[11] Its overall ratings boost also helped NBC win the evening as the most watched network for January 2011. These marks were achieved despite the seven hour postponement of the game, which prevented network promotion of the new ad hoc 8 start time (and subsequent program listings of Law Order: Los Angeles Rerun on DVRs and program guides). Pittsburgh and Washington led the ratings, with Baltimore, which is part of the Capitals' territory, in third. Buffalo, New York was the highest rated outside market, despite a Buffalo Sabres game playing opposite the Winter Classic.[12]

The NHL Legends Game was played on December 31 in the morning. The game, which featured notable alumni from both the Penguins and the Capitals, was played tennessee titans steve mcnair jerseys in two 20 minute periods and ended in 5 5 tie. Penguins goals were scored by Rob Brown, Rod Buskas, Craig Simpson, Jay Caufield and Ron Francis. Mario Lemieux had two assists. Paul Mulvey of the Capitals had two goals, while Alan May, Mark Lofthouse and Peter Bondra scored one each. Bondra's goal tied the game with 45 remaining. The game didn't have overtime or shootout.[13][14]

The Penguins alumni wore the 1968 72 styled powder blue jerseys, Pittsburgh's former third jersey that was introduced in the 2008 Winter Classic. The Capitals alumni wore Washington's current home red jerseys.

Several complaints were made by the fans in attendance. Prior to the game starting, there were complaints regarding the sale of the tickets to game, which went on sale at 10:00 on December 2010 for $25 a piece. Only 10,000 tickets were available for sale by the NHL, while Heinz Field has a capacity of over 68,111 seats for hockey. Many fans who tried to obtain tickets from Ticketmaster at exactly 10:00 either via the titans heritage jerseys internet or by telephone could not get access to the company. Many of the locked out fans complained that most of the people who got tickets were ticket scalpers or people trying to sell them online. By 10:14 the first two tickets showed up for sale on the Pittsburgh craigslist website for $250 a piece. Throughout the day, there were several entries on eBay and craigslist seeking as much as $699.99 for two tickets and $1,380 for a set of four.[15]

The most vocal complaints were reserved for the time it took for many fans to get inside the stadium. Well into the first period of the two period game, people reportedly still were entering Heinz Field. This was due to the stadium having only one open gate that morning, Gate Several fans further stated that not all the turnstiles were being used, a claim disputed by the Steelers, who spoke on behalf of stadium tennessee titans kenny britt jerseys operations. Some confused fans also waited for other gates to open, which never happened.[16]

Some spectators also complained that the game ended in a 5 5 tie with no overtime or shootout. Penguins alumnus Phil Bourque said after the game that ""I think everybody's a little disappointed that we didn't get to the shootout, because it would have been great to see Mario. Pittsburgh would have gone with all Hall of Famers, of course, in our shootout group."" Penguins alumni coach Eddie Johnston later stated that his shootout plan consisted of having Mario Lemieux, Ron Francis, Larry Murphy, Paul Coffey and Bryan Trottier participating in that order.[17]HBO aired a four part documentary chronicling the preparation of the two teams for the game as part of its award winning sports series 24/7. The first episode aired on Wednesday, December 2010 at 10 ET,[18] with three additional episodes following each subsequent Wednesday. On Thursday, December 2010, the Robert Morris Colonials and the RIT Tigers men's varsity hockey teams met at the Consol Energy Center in downtown Pittsburgh for an Atlantic Hockey league match.[19] The college game was followed that evening by an American Hockey League matchup between the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Hershey Bears, the top minor league affiliates of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals, respectively.[19]