I'll cop to being reluctant to even watch this show. I'm hardly a fan of either team, and I've gone on record repeatedly as disliking Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. However the reviews I kept getting from my twitter friends led me check it out, and I'm glad I did.
Like most HBO presentations, it was well done with great editing, narration and attention to atmosphere and intensity. I can't even fault the subject matter, nor poke fun as much as I thought I would. It's a very well done show about a sport I love to watch, and even my long-standing Ovechkin and Crosby bias took an unexpected hit as a result.
1. I like Bruce Boudreau, but it’s no easy task to make a sow’s ear out of a silk purse. Defensive hockey will be no easy conquest for his offensively built powerhouse, and with the Caps currently on an 8-game losing streak pundits are now at the point of trying to determine odds as to whether or not Boudreau’s tenure will last until the Winter Classic. His predecessor was shown the door for only a 5 game nosedive.
2. Dan Bylsma’s hockey war wounds are nowhere near as impressive as the one Mike Cammalleri is currently sporting. It’s nice to see a young coach who can engage with his players and not have to father figure them so much. And the chemistry that the Penguins squad has under his leadership manifests itself clearly on the ice. He’s a good, young, intelligent and positive coach. *sigh*
3. I really didn’t need to see Alexander Ovechkin in his underwear. If I could figure out how to do it, I’d bleach my short-term memory.
4. I’ll never be a Sidney Crosby fan, but perhaps I’ve been a bit hard on him. He’s a good kid and truly talented. I like it when the small town hero makes good and there’s no arguing he’s worked hard to achieve every single one of his well-deserved accomplishments. I just don’t care to be reminded to worship regularly at his feet. And I still reserve the right to mock outrageously as my mood dictates.
5. Matt Cooke is still clearly a douchebag even on a show that’s supposed to make him not look like one. I do like Max Talbot. Funny guy and good sport. Who else would try to turn Santa into his own personal pimp?
6. There is no way the Habs could skate around a small rink like that with only a few young fans and so few spectators not flashing cameras or waving sharpies. Instead we’d have ten hour lineups for thirty seconds of skating privileges. Washington may be in love with their successful hockey franchise, but they’ve got a long way to go to reach the level of frenzied overwhelming passion that Montreal feels for the Canadiens. I know it’s not a contest, but it makes me smile just the same. Go Habs fans!
7. Boudreau’s F-bomb tirade is like watching the Pillsbury Doughboy (thanks to @lissa77 for that image) cuss up a storm. I’d feel bad for his team enduring his wrath, only his wrath made me giggle.
8. Are all locker rooms – save the Habs facing the usual barrage of questions by the press – that quiet after a loss? How is it I feel sorry for the Caps? I hate the Caps. Yet the looks on the players’ faces is telling and sad.
9. The road trip bromance amongst the Pens players was about what I expected. It’s nice to have fun at your work. In serious contrast, that brotherhood is not really in evidence on the Capitals squad. Is it due solely to their current losing streak, or is that usually the case regardless?
10. LMAO at Ovechkin’s attempt at a suitable defense re: Alexander Semin’s ejection for cutting open Colorado Avalanche’s defenseman Liles. Ref: “And it’s fucking cut wide open.” Ovechkin: “Well he probably has sensitive skin, no?” Good thing he wanted to be a hockey player and not a defense attorney.
11. Ovechkin is brilliant and talented and I love his passion and fire. But for the life of me I don’t understand why he’s wearing the “C”.
Regardless of the NHL’s constant and (for me at least) oft-irritating love affair with these two teams, the contrast between the two is glaring right now. One is riding an incredible high, while the other is riding a truly terrible low. This sport is as brutal off the ice as it is on. And this time at least, just as entertaining.