HBO 24/7 Capitals-Penguins Recap 3

While the first two episodes were leading up to the Winter Classic, this episode profiled the match up between the two teams before their showdown on January 1. We were pleasured with over 25 minutes of coverage of the game between the teams last week. We got to see hockey in detail never before seen in this much detail. But before that, there was other happenings between the two teams.

In Pittsburgh, they did a nice job profiling Ben Lovejoy. Against the Panthers, he had his first career goal as well as a fight. He was an assist away from the “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” before getting struck on the left cheek by a puck. HBO did a fantastic job of showing the entire process of what happened. From him walking off the ice, to getting checked out and stitched up by the team doctor. He was even a good sport to do a short interview talking about it after getting stitched up.

In the District, they easily disposed of New Jersey. The interesting storylin was trainer Greg Smith meeting with coach Bruce Boudreau and GM George McPhee  about Matt Bradley being taken off the active roster. He was injured with a broken finger in the game against New Jersey. Boudreau and McPhee both know that when Smith wants to talk to them, it usually isn’t good.

Next, they showed a video session of Boudreau showing the team how to stop Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. They are both talented players but you have to take different approaches to playing defense against them. Crosby is the more level-headed player, no matter if you play defense against him or you take a run at him he will still play his game and try to get the puck in the net. Malkin is the more tempered player as he’s more likely to retaliate and take a penalty if you play more body against him.

At the Penguins video session, assistant coach Tony Granato pointed out how good Washington is at transitioning from defense to offense. The key for the defensemen is to not get caught too deep because the Capitals forwards are already turning up the ice before their defensemen even have the puck.  Leading up to the game, they had great cutting of the footage between both teams. Once Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylisma said something, Boudreau had something to counter to his troops.

The music, sounds, and footage from the game was so life-like and real, you think you were watching a movie. The action from the hits, shots, goals, and between period discussions were very intense. Also including in the intensity was the officials explaining calls to player and coaches, and even Crosby and Ovechkin dropping F-Bombs and other profane language to the officials if a call didn’t go their way. Crosby’s rant in the second period was Boudreau-esque. Between periods, it was a different vibe between the two teams. Pittsburgh was showing little regard to Washington goalie Michal Neivirth, saying how he isn’t good and how he’s prone to allowing rebounds and for them to pounce on them at every chance.

If you never seen how the NHL War Room works during the controversial goal Washington thought they scored, this videogives you a great insight at how it works. In my opinion, the officials got the call right. The official at the goal line did not see the puck cross the line because it was covered by Marc-Andre Fleury’s glove. Thanks to Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy for the video.

The game ends in a long shootout between the teams. Most players missed but it was Pascal Dupuis scoring to win it for Pittsburgh. The rest of the episode featured various Christmas celebrations, Boudreau going shopping with his kids, Bylisma playing XBox Connect and dancing with his son and the setup of Heinz Field

Three Thumbs Up:

1. The Officials. Over the course of the series, if you have ever wondered what the officials hear and think during  a game, this is your perfect chance. From last week the officials talking about the game over beers in the locker room, to this week taking a good amount of profane language from both teams’ players this was a good never-before-seen chance at how officials think. I give Kelly Sutherland and his crew lots of credit for getting together and getting the call right, from the puck hitting the net that led to a penalty to the controversial goal going to the NHL War Room in Toronto, they got both calls right in my opinion. The best quote was from Southerland when the time-out coordinator was struck by a  puck, “Did we get her the puck at least?”

2. Boudreau and his love for food. The morning after the Pittsburgh loss, the Washington bench boss and his two sons went shopping for Boudreau’s wife. It was before 10:00 a.m. and Boudreau wanted some Haagen-Dazs. He spent just as much time lusting after ice cream early in the morning than actually shopping. But I give Boudreau credit, he doesn’t have a clue of what to buy a woman, and looks like he spends too much time at the food court instead of a treadmill. He ends up buying his wife a pair of shoes that are perhaps the wrong side and color. I bet he’s in the doghouse at this time today. And isn’t it the thought that counts anyway?

3. Interviewing Steelers players James Farrior and James Harrison. Harrison said it best saying “I can skate enough to fight and enforce, not to actually play. If you need someone, give me a call.” How fitting is it that Harrison is perhaps the most fined player in the NFL this season, where he’s paid the league nearly $145,000 this season for various late and helmet-to-helmet hits. Maybe he should take up a sport where he’s more socially acceptable to hit someone?

Check back next week where we chronicle the finale of 24/7 that will feature the end of Crosby’s point streak, as well as a certain outdoor hockey game on January 1.


  1. I think it’s great that they include both the interactiosn between the refs themselves and the interactions that the refs have with the players on the ice. You always see players jawing at the refs, so it’s interesting to see what takes place during that exchange.

    Now, unfortunately I didn’t get to see the episode since I don’t have HBO, but I’m curious about Crosby’s rant that you mentioned. As the captain of Pittsburgh, does his rant come off as him being a leader of the team or does it come off as him being a whiny baby like he is so often referred to as?

    • He came off as a whiny baby. He was on a break towards the net, got D’ed up by the last defenseman and fell down. He was complaining to the ref how it should have been a penalty but it wasnt called. He dropped like 7-8 F and BS Bombs in a 10 second stretch when he was complaining to the ref and skating away.

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