Just before the Caps turn the page on their Stanley Cup championship season and open a new campaign, they will raise a championship banner to the rafters of Capital One Arena in the home opener. We now have a date for that banner raising.
The Capitals' home opener will be on Oct. 3, but if you were hoping Washington would raise the banner against the Pittsburgh Penguins, you're going to be disappointed.
Instead, the Boston Bruins will be the Caps' first opponent at Capital One Arena for the 2018-19 season.
The Capitals opened the 2016-17 season in Pittsburgh when the Penguins raised their Stanley Cup banner from 2016. That was rubbing salt in the wound as not only are the Penguins Washington's biggest rival, they also eliminated the Caps in the second round of the 2016 playoffs en route to winning the Stanley Cup.
The fact that the Caps had to endure that banner raising led to speculation that the NHL schedule makers would perhaps return the favor and bring the Penguins to Washington as the Caps prepare to raise their first championship banner.
Alas, that was not the case. It's totally understandable though. The Penguins need that night off so they can prepare for their home opener on Oct. 4...against the Capitals.
It is not typical that the NHL forces teams to play their rivals in a home opener during a banner raising ceremony and it should be noted that the Caps were not in Pittsburgh for the Penguins' 2017 home opener after Pittsburgh's second straight Stanley Cup. The 2016-17 season appears to be little more than a coincidence.
Still, having the Caps play in Pittsburgh the very next night seems like an odd quirk.
Seeing the Caps raise the Stanley Cup banner on Oct. 3 will be no less sweet without the Penguins in attendance. But it would have been nice.
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