With a Blizzard Watch in effect and a “prolific” amount of snow predicted for the Washington, D.C., area Friday night into Saturday, the Capitals and the NHL will work closely with local officials to determine whether their home games on Friday night against the Anaheim Ducks and Sunday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Penguins will be played as scheduled.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the Caps’ games against the Ducks and Penguins will go on as scheduled, according to a Capitals spokesman.
“The organization is continuing to monitor the forecast, and will remain in constant communication with the NHL and the visiting team throughout the week,” Capitals senior director of Communications Sergey Kocharov said in an email.
“In the event of any schedule changes for either game, the Capitals will email all season-ticket holders and communicate updates immediately via WashingtonCapitals.com and social media platforms.”
The Capitals and Ducks are scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. on Friday, while the Caps and Penguins are slated for 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. Generally, if opposing teams and NHL officials are in a city in time for a game, the league makes every effort to play the contest.
“But we also work with and follow the lead of local authorities regarding the safety of fans attending games,” NHL Group Vice President, Communications John Dellapina said in an email.
The Ducks, coached by former Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau, are scheduled to play in Anaheim tonight against the Minnesota Wild, then begin a three-game trip that takes them to Washington on Friday, Detroit on Saturday and Boston on Tuesday.
They Ducks are scheduled to depart for Washington on Thursday (no practice) and conduct their morning skate at Verizon Center on Friday.
The Penguins, who have lost three of their last four games, play in Pittsburgh Thursday night against the Flyers and remain home for a Saturday afternoon (12:30 p.m.) game against the Canucks on Saturday. They are scheduled to depart for Washington following their game in Pittsburgh Saturday afternoon.
After their scheduled game against the Capitals on Sunday the Pens return home to face the Devils on Tuesday The Capitals remain home to face the Flyers on Wednesday, then break for the NHL All-Star Game.
While it could be logistically feasible to reschedule a game between the Caps and Penguins, it could pose a scheduling nightmare for the NHL to reschedule a game between the Ducks and Caps. Anaheim has just one other East Coast trip scheduled for this season -- a four-games-in-six-nights trip in early February that takes them to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Columbus and Chicago.
“Rescheduling games is neither easy nor foolproof,” Dellapina said in his email. “What if the weather is worse on the make-up day? What if the teams have no coincidental open dates available that don't violate CBA rules about mandatory days off and maximum number of games allowable in a given time period?”
Those are reasons why, Dellapina said, the NHL rarely reschedules games and waits as long as possible to do so.