Where would players choose for Classic?

Where would players choose for Classic?
September 22, 2013, 9:00 am
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Everyone has an opinion on where the Caps should play the 2015 Winter Classic and the opponent they should face, including the players themselves.

So we asked three of the Capitals’ top players, Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green, and here’s what they had to say.

If you could have the Winter Classic anywhere in Washington, where would it be?

Backstrom: “When I first heard about it, I thought it would be pretty amazing if we could have it on FedEx Field. That would be something special, to have 90,000 people there. That would be pretty sick if that’s possible. Either way, I mean, NationalsPark, that’s a really nice stadium as well.”

Ovechkin: “Probably FedEx Field. It can hold lots of people. We have lots of Caps fans and we need to have the biggest place we can play.”

Green: “I don’t where it’s going to be, but I think on the Mall would be really cool, but I don’t know all the rules and regulations on that. It would be really cool and that’s where I’d like to see it, but who knows?”

If you could play any opponent in the Winter Classic, who would it be?

Backstrom: “Oh, that’s a tough one. It doesn’t really matter. Either way it’s going to be a great event.”

Ovechkin: “Probably one of the rivalries. Philly, New York, Pittsburgh. One of those would be pretty cool.”

Green: “I would say New York. I don’t know if it’ll be them. But I’d say New York or Philadelphia.”

All three players said they enjoyed interacting with fans at Saturday's Capitals Convention, an all-day affair in which Ovechin played a spirited floor hockey game against kids and Backstrom took on several fans in ping pong.

“I think they’re excited to see us,” said Ovechkin, who snapped hundreds of photos with fans that waited in long lines. “I saw lots of old friends and they just have fun with us and we have fun with them.

“Communication with the fans is one of the things we have to do and it’s lots of fun, especially playing with the kids.”

Green said he’s noticed a change in the fans since he first arrived in D.C. in 2006.

“It’s more of a culture now,” he said. “When we first came here people were excited we had a good product on the ice but I believe people really understand  hockey now and it’s become a culture in D.C.

“It’s a hockey town and that wasn’t the case before. Ted [Leonsis] has done a great job of creating this culture and as an athlete that’s all you ask for -- that people come to the games and support you and D.C. fans are some of the best.”