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Penguins-Capitals seemingly on at Verizon

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Sunday, Feb. 7, 2010

The Penguins went the distance Saturday night to help the NHL potentially net capital gains today.

A nationally televised game between the Penguins and Washington Capitals at Verizon Center — NBC's lone opportunity to broadcast a regular-season Sunday "Game of the Week" contest featuring top-draw superstars Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin — should be played at noon as scheduled despite reports of an estimated 25-plus inches of snow that has buried the metro DC region since Friday night.

The Penguins confirmed a slated yesterday afternoon departure by charter plane from Montreal, where they lost to the Canadiens at Bell Center. They were set to arrive tonight at Newark, N.J., and from there they were set for a scheduled four-hour bus trip to Washington.

"It's going to be a real fun night," defenseman Mark Eaton said, sarcastically. "This is definitely new territory. It sounds like we're going to be on a bus for a long time."

Today's game is a marquee event for the league and its national broadcast partner. In addition to being a rematch of an epic seven-game playoff series from last spring, this contest features the reigning Stanley Cup champion Penguins and a Capitals club that has won 13 straight games.

The game was originally scheduled for noon because NBC aims to attract part of the traditionally large all-day Super Bowl Sunday TV audience.

Late Saturday the NHL issued a release that stated the game between the Penguins and Capitals remained scheduled for noon. The Penguins left Newark around 9:30 p.m.

A scheduled NBA game last night between the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards at Verizon Center was postponed, and no makeup date was announced.

There are no scheduled events at Verizon Center on Monday, a free day for the Penguins and Capitals. The clubs are also off Tuesday. Verizon Center has no scheduled events for Monday and Tuesday, but a "Disney On Ice" production opens a six-day stay Wednesday.

A majority of NBC's broadcast crew arrived Friday at Washington. The Capitals beat the Atlanta Thrashers that night, and members of an officiating crew from that game remained at Washington to work the contest today.

The Penguins had looked at flying into Richmond, Va., but were deterred by reports that the Thrashers needed more than four hours to reach the Richmond airport via bus after their loss at Washington. That drive is usually two hours.

Staff writer Josh Yohe contributed to this report.

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