wind cancels practices, threatens game


ANNAPOLIS — The Stadium Series game between the Capitals and the Toronto Maple Leafs is expected to go on as scheduled at 8 p.m. on Saturday, but morning skates have been canceled and the league will re-evaluate the weather situation at 1:30 p.m.

Wind gusts up to 60 mph have wreaked havoc on the Stadium Schedule series the past two days. All of Friday’s events at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium, including practices, were canceled.

The Maple Leafs and Capitals will hold media availability in their locker rooms at the stadium on Saturday morning, but nothing after that is certain. The game could still be moved to Sunday if conditions don’t improve in the region. Hundreds of flights have been grounded at area airports.  

“The wind wouldn’t be ideal, but part of playing these games is you have to deal with the weather,” Toronto defenseman Morgan Reilly said. “Right now I think she was a little windy out there, but hopefully she clears up a little bit for us. But we’ll see. If it’s windy [Saturday], we’ll just have to deal with it. There’s two teams that have to deal with it, so we’re not too worried about it.

Caps goalie Braden Holtby thought the wind would play the biggest factor on high passes and chips toward center ice rather than shots on goal. Others noted back-checking could be an issue if a players are skating into the wind.

The Caps have played in rough conditions before. In the 2011 Winter Classic they struggled through a steady rain and less-than-ideal ice conditions against the Pittsburgh Penguins. And, yes, the wind played a role, too.  

“I think it was kind of windy our first game in Pittsburgh,” Caps center Nicklas Backstrom said. “Not superly windy, but at least you could feel it and I heard it’s going to be a little windy. But it’s the same for both teams, so it doesn’t really affect us too much. I’m just hoping the ice will be good and the temperature will be low enough so it doesn’t cause any trouble.”

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