The star power associated with a potential Penguins' alumni team is hard to match up against. But the Capitals organization will give it a go on New Year's Eve Day as the two franchises send the old-timers onto the outdoor ice at Heinz Field.
What kind of firepower will the Caps be up against? First of all, there's Mario Lemieux. And you know No. 66 will be bringing his friends. That includes the likes of Ron Francis, Paul Coffey and Bryan Trottier. Heck, Lemieux even got Bill Guerin to officially retire just so he could play in the game.
OK, so the timing of the retirement and the Winter Classic Alumni Game may have just been a coincidence, but it certainly won't hurt the Pens' chances.
Lemieux, who cut the Caps no slack whenever he played them, said he can't wait to get back on the ice against the former divisional foe.
“We all grew up playing on outdoor rinks, so we’re really looking forward to having this chance to skate on the Winter Classic rink at Heinz Field,” Lemieux said. “There is so much history between the Penguins and Capitals and it will be good to get together and see friends on both benches.”
Of course, alumni games are alumni games. There will be plenty of yucks and laughs instead of bodychecks and, well, defense, but those who do plunk down $25 to sit outside at 9:30 a.m. to watch the game (followed by a chance to watch the Pens' current squad practice at 11:30 a.m.) just hope to be entertained and get their money's worth without also picking up some frostbite in the process.
As of now, the only Capital officially announced for the game is Peter Bondra. The rest of the squads will be announced soon.
Here's some food for thought: Could the game feature a Jaromir Jagr sighting? Sure, he's not officially retired from the league, but he has played for both teams, and with each passing month it seems less and less likely that he'll actually step on the ice for a real NHL game again. Perhaps this is as good a time as any for him to give it up and be honored for what he accomplished in Pittsburgh (and what he could have in Washington).
At the very least, we can at least hope for Dale Hunter to show up just so he can shadow Lemieux everywhere he skates on the ice. Old-time hockey!
There will be a limit of 10,000 tickets available for sale starting at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 17 at ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000.