Today is Wednesday. The game was played Saturday. Let’s get this over with.
Time to discuss Week 4 of HBO’s 24/7 Penguins/Capitals
– I feel like I should get this out right up top. I find this episode completely anticlimactic. The winter classic was four days ago. I know how it ended. But, honestly, I didn’t really watch it. There was a Ranger game on at the same time. What I did see, though, wasn’t very entertaining. It was sloppy and Heinz field had no ambiance whatsoever. So, that is the bias I carry into this week’s episode.
– It’s nice that Matt Cooke and his son, Jackson, have matching custom suits. And it’s nice that the player wants to show his son’s new outfit off to his friends. But, Cooke has a daughter too. She was right there with him. But, it seemed like he was completely ignoring her.
-I’m kind of shocked the NHL let HBO film at a Pens/Islanders game. I would think the league would want to pretend the Isles don’t exist.That’s what most fans do.
-I like the term “shit bums.” Kudos coach Boudreau. I’m also a fan of Ovechkin saying “Fuck this Shitburgh team.”
-The visuals during the Caps practice at Heinz field were great. One shot especially stood out. It started with a slow motion shot of a forward coming in on the goalie then panned out to Boudreau in the foreground.
– When they put the Rocky 4 soundtrack in the Pittsburgh locker room, how does Evgeni Malkin feel? Russia is clearly the enemy in Survivor’s classic, “Burning Heart.” Does that really psyche him up? I bet it makes him sad. (A side note: The lead singer of Survivor is the guy who sings the “Real Men of Genius” ads for Bud Light.)
-Having mics on the players and refs is great. I think most hockey fans wonder what’s said during those scrums in front of the net. Turns out it’s “Fuck you, Cookie, you motherfucker!”
-Just like last week, being able to focus on the ins and outs of a single game makes this series shine. It all comes to a head when the Pens refuse to shake hands and Broudreau says “Fuck them all, eh?”
-Though it wasn’t planned, I think playing the game at night is a better idea than playing it at 1pm. Unfortunately, next January 1st is a Sunday and NBC probably won’t want to preempt Sunday Night Football during the last week of the NFL regular season. In fact, playing this game on a Sunday during football season seems like a bad idea all around. Maybe next year’s classic should be on New Year’s Eve. And while we’re spitballing, allow me to fully endorse the suggestion Larry Brooks made in Sunday’s New York Post. Next year’s classic should be played in Central Park with the New York Rangers as the home team.
-So, overall, I think this series was a triumph for the NHL. It provided non hockey fans with some insight into the game’s two biggest stars. For hockey lovers, it provided the type of insider’s look that can make you better understand the game. Plus, there’s Liev Schreiber. Anytime you can have him narrate your sport, you’ve got a victory under your belt. His final soliloquy was enough to give you chills.