On Monday I added HBO just so I could watch 24/7. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made. There has been so much hype around this series profiling the Penguins and Capitals leading up the Winter Classic that you had to wonder if it would live up to it. No question, it surpassed the hype. I wondered how the cameras would end up portraying the players, the team and the organization given what Hard Knocks has revealed in the past. Granted, this first episode was filmed in the midst of the Penguins’ long win streak, but I don’t think Pens fans could have asked for anything better.
The Penguins, from the front office down to the players, came off as poised, polished, focused, and a genuine family. Made me proud to be a fan not only of the team but of the organization, and proud to be from Pittsburgh. There is some candid video of Dupuis and Talbot at their respective homes, a behind the scenes look at Shero and Bylsma having a meeting evaluating player performance, and all kinds of other goodness.
Oh, and the show also featured the Capitals (heh). They’re in the middle of a 7-game losing streak, everyone looks miserable, boo hoo. You’ll catch a glimpse of Ovechkin in his bikini briefs (which I think the whole world could do without), Boudreau effing up a storm (hurricane would be more accurate) and he also made some mention of grabbing sacs. He basically made Rex Ryan look like an angel. It all basically validated that the Capitals are an obnoxious organization.
Now, back to the Pens. This, by far, was my favorite sequence of the entire first episode. The team plane trip to Buffalo and then hotel shenanigans:
Craig Adams reads books (he should start a book club). Orpik, Malkin and Cooke played cards. Sid, Fluery, Rupp and Talbot played some kind of PSP game and talked trash to each other. Everyone seems to like candy. And then some rookie pranks at the hotel. Love, love, love all of it.
The Pensblog has YouTube clips of their 5 favorite scenes; they’re all great. The whole show is awesome. One month of HBO is totally worth it for this if you’re a Pens fan.
Did you watch the first episode? What did you think?
Edited to Add: The NHL has made the entire first episode available online. You can watch it here.