WASHINGTON – The nationally televised Super Bowl Sunday showdown between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals was a full-go after all – despite 2 feet of snow that paralyzed the nation’s capital and had the visitors scrambling to find a way into town.
With all of the airports in the area shut down, the Penguins had to fly into Newark, N.J., from Montreal after their Saturday afternoon game against the Canadiens. The team then took a five-hour bus ride, making a midnight fast food stop in Maryland, before arriving in Washington at 2:15 a.m.
Hardly ideal for a noon start time.
The Penguins’ travel troubles appeared to give the Capitals’ a greater-than-usual home-ice advantage, but Washington coach Bruce Boudreau begged to differ.
“I think it’s totally opposite. All they had to do was sit on a bus. We had to shovel out our houses and everything else,” Boudreau said before the game.
“Half the city was without power. A lot of the guys have no power. You’re digging out cars left, right and centre to get everybody out. I think that’s more taxing than sitting down. Other than a few of their players, they’ve played in the American (Hockey) League before. A bus ride has never hurt anybody.”
Boudreau said all of his players made it to the arena on time, and he quizzed them on how much shovelling they had to do – in case they would be too tired or sore to play.
“Maybe I’m old, but I’m sore,” Boudreau said.
The game was one of the most-anticipated on the schedule, featuring rival teams, superstars Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, and a game-of-the-week audience on NBC.
In addition, the Capitals started the day on a 13-game winning streak, four short of the NHL record set by the Penguins in 1992-93.