The Washington Capitals embark Tuesday on a nomadic journey of sorts, playing six consecutive games away from Verizon Center over the course of the next 12 days. While the Capitals endure their longest road stretch of the season, their home arena will be bustling, first with the NCAA men's basketball tournament and then the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey circus for the eighth straight year — scheduling arrangements in place before owner Ted Leonsis purchased Verizon Center and the Wizards from the estate of the late Abe Pollin. If it had been up to him, though, Leonsis said he likely would have agreed to hosting the special events — even if it meant sending the Capitals on the road with playoff seeding or eligibility potentially hanging in the balance, or making the woeful Wizards play seven of their next eight on the road. "The mortgage of the building is in the number one position of priority," Leonsis said in a recent interview. "So concerts and horse shows and the NCAA tournament are really important to us because they help us pay the mortgage on the down days. It's a balancing act, but I probably would have agreed to the NCAAs and this upcoming schedule." Only four of the Capitals' 12 remaining regular season games will be played at home, and while this six-game stretch is not a traditional road trip — the team will return to Washington at least once to practice — the string of consecutive road games beats their longest homestand of four contests in December. "I think our schedule has been fair," Leonsis said. "Even though this is a six-game road trip, it's really three and then we come home [to practice], and we were very conscious of that."
Capitals forced to hit the road while Verizon Center hosts NCAA tournament, circus
Washington Post | Mar 15