Hockey World Blog

HBO 24/7 Capitals-Penguins Recap 4

In the finale of the series, we got to see everything between both teams leading up to the big game. From Washington beating Montreal the week before the game, to Pittsburgh being upset by the New York Islanders and Sidney Crosby’s point stream ending, it was all there to be seen.

Leading off, what a difference a month makes between both teams. In episode one, Pittsburgh was the jovial one in the middle of a long winning streak. Washington was the ones losing a bunch of games and couldn’t find themselves a win if they had a road map. After the Winter Classic was over, it was coach Bruce Boudreau making promise on his team before the game when he said “it’s two [expletive] points we’re going to take off these pricks here.”  Pittsburgh was the one’s lost for words, and after the Winter Classic you could of easily played the meeting between Penguins GM Ray Shero and coach Dan Bylisma the morning following the Islanders loss when Shero said “So what the [expletive] happened last night, Dan?”

The song from Rocky IV (Burning Heart) leading up to the game was very fitting. Two teams going into battle between the boards and glass on a sheet of ice infront of 65,000 and millions more watching on television was pretty epic. I believe the NHL struck gold with the game being pushed back to an 8:00 p.m. start. They didn’t have to compete with several college football games and they had most sports following eyes on themselves. I won’t be surprised if future Winter Classic games will be played at night.

With the game itself, the amount of banter between the players themselves and the officials was something not many outside the hockey world gets to see. Especially the profane trash talk between the players when a scrum occurs at the net. Yes, that really happens in hockey games; they weren’t putting on a show for the microphones and cameras. I liked it best when Cooke was arguing with the officials about how many cross-checks he was going to allow before he would call a penalty. The type of chat the official had with the Washington bench on the following face-off has happened to myself before.

And just like last week, we had another Sidney Crosby whine-fest when he got tripped and a penalty shot wasn’t called. He told the official “I watch [expletive] 80 games on TV and that’s a penalty shot every time. By the way, that was a [expletive] hook on the way in, too.” Does he want cheese with that wine?

I don’t know about you (our readers), but I personally enjoyed that cheap head-shot Dave Steckel laid on Crosby at the end of the second period. Had I seen that in person, I would of cheered and roared like a goal was scored.

The main part I was looking forward to seeing was what happened with the post-game handshake. There was a scrum with less than a second left at a whistle and also during the final face-off when the linesman dropping the puck had to break up a gathering of players from both sides before he could even drop the puck.

As a referee, the game was 3-1 with less than a second left. The second scrum would of never happened because I would of told the scorekeeper to run the clock. At the younger levels of hockey, that’s a preventative measure to keep stuff like what happened in the final seconds and line brawls from happening. Nothing was gained in that last face-off besides someone padding their face-off Win’s statistic. That isn’t worth someone getting beaten up, cut, and perhaps even injured, fined or suspended. That is what caused both teams from shaking hands (besides Pittsburgh skating off the ice while Washington was standing there wanting to do it according assistant coach Dean Evason on Todd Wright Tonight earlier this week).

The ending montage with footage from earlier episodes, as well as empty locker rooms, training tables, and offices was a fitting way to end the series. I have seen other 24/7 series before and this is by far my favorite one. They were able to provide coverage of players from both teams (as some feared it would be a Sid vs. Ovi show), as well as action from both sides off the ice and in their personal lives at home.

Three Thumb’s Up:

1. Washington wearing war-paint for their practice outside at Chevy Chase rink.

2. Penguins players messing around with the Steelers football helmet (mostly Pascal Dupuis and Evgeni Malkin) and Dupuis ultimately wearing it on the ice for their skate at Heinz Field. This could be grouped with Staal doing his best Rocky impression running up the stairs at the top of the stadium when he lost the shootout contest.

3. You hear it metaphorically all the time, but it was pretty cool actually seeing “bulletin board material” on an actual bulletin board.

If you missed any action from 24/7, HBO will be showing all four episodes in marathon format Saturday afternoon beginning at 1:30 p.m. EST.

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