The Washington Capitals are in Raleigh ahead of their Saturday night Stadium Series matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes and both teams took the ice at Carter Finley Stadium for a practice and a skate with their families on Friday evening.
The Hurricanes practiced at 4 and even had a rain delay in the middle of their session but the ice was still OK. Marcus Johansson was on the ice after his collision in last night’s loss to the Florida Panthers with Radko Gudas. Tom Wilson and Nic Dowd also practiced today.
While the Caps are missing Alex Ovechkin his presence is still felt around here. At the hotel I’m at I’m seeing lots of Ovechkin jerseys and Caps fans. Tom Wilson noted that Ovechkin sent a group text to the team telling them that he loves them and misses them.
The game was the fastest NHL outdoor game to sell out. It’ll embrace and combine both the hockey and the college football atmosphere. The outdoor game will share the field with North Carolina State students, the university’s marching band, musical performances and special appearances by NC State legends (Trea Turner?) and members of the Canes 2006 Stanley Cup team.
NC State students will have a special section on the field to cheer on their respective teams. In a fan zone on the south side of the stadium, the students and ESPN’s broadcast set will have front row seats to the epic game and a first intermission musical performance on the NHL stage.
Ripken The Bat Dog was a special guest at practice. He’s the dog of NC State football and the Durham Bulls. He will lead the ceremonial puck drop. Prior to the game be sure to check out the Truly Hard Seltzer NHL Pre Game which is the official fan festival of the Stadium Series. That will be open from 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.