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Caps Irate Over Locker Room Footage

May 7, 2009 – 7:35 PM
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Eric McErlain

Eric McErlain %BloggerTitle%


As was first reported by Dan Steinberg at DC Sports Bog last night, both the CBC and Versus aired some video footage last night during the pre-game show before Game 3 of the Caps-Penguins series that featured a shot of a dry erase board listing the team's "keys to victory." While nothing earth-shattering was revealed -- "Don't let Crosby/Malkin have any room," is hardly a state secret -- that didn't stop Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau and general manager George McPhee from expressing their displeasure to the press Thursday while announcing they won't be allowing any locker room access to camera crews before Game 4.

Before going any further, we should get some basic facts straight. The original footage -- which was shot in order to get some tape of Alex Ovechkin preparing for the game -- was taken by the CBC. By contract, they're required to share this footage with Versus. The CBC did go a step further by not only airing the footage, but by having two of their studio analysts -- Mike Milbury and Kelly Hrudey -- go over the list point by point. In response, Boudreau called the CBC "classless," while McPhee said, "They should know better than to do that. They've been talked to."

Alex Ovechkin Photos

    MONTREAL - JANUARY 24: Eastern Conference All-Star Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals competes in the 'Scotiabank NHL Fan Fav Breakaway Challenge' during the Honda NHL Superskills competition as part of the 2009 NHL All-Star weekend on January 24, 2009 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

    Dave Sandford, Getty Images

    WASHINGTON - MARCH 27: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals celebrates his first period goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 27, 2009 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    Bruce Bennett, Getty Images

    WASHINGTON - MARCH 27: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals checks Matt Smaby #32 of the Tampa Bay Lightning into the boards during a NHL hockey game on March 27, 2009 at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Mitchell Layton, NHLI / Getty Images

    RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 21:Alexander Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals skates hard for position during a NHL game against the Carolina Hurricanes on March 21, 2009 at RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Gregg Forwerck, NHLI / Getty Images

    PHILADELPHIA - MARCH 12: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals skates in towards the crease against Danny Briere #48 and Martin Biron #43 of the Philadelphia Flyers on March 12, 2009 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Len Redkoles, NHLI / Getty Images

    PHILADELPHIA - MARCH 12: A young male fan holds up a sign for Alex Ovechkin during the pregame warm ups at a NHL game between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Washington Capitals on March 12, 2009 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Len Redkoles, NHLI / Getty Images

    BOSTON - FEBRUARY 28: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals during warm-up against the Boston Bruins at the TD Banknorth Garden on February 28, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Steve Babineau, NHLI / Getty Images

    SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 15: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals sits on the bench during a break in the action against the Florida Panthers at the Bank Atlantic Center on February 15, 2009 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Eliot J. Schechter, NHLI / Getty Images

    NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 03: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on February 3, 2009 in Newark, New Jersey. The Capitals defeated the Devils 5-2. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

    Jim McIsaac, Getty Images

    MONTREAL - JANUARY 24: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals skates during the Honda NHL Superskills competition as part of the 2009 NHL All-Star weekend on January 24, 2009 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

    Mike Stobe, Getty Images



In kicking this story around with some of my FanHouse colleagues, one said that if you let the cameras into your locker room, you have to expect something like this might happen if you don't make arrangements to cover things up. Fair enough, I guess, but after carrying a press pass in Washington for three years, I came to understand that there were a few unwritten rules about locker room access.

Back in 2006, one writer who was working with me at my own blog, Off Wing Opinion, attended a pre-game skate, camera in hand. He took a couple of shots of players being interviewed in the locker room, but also happened to take a shot of the team's line combinations for that night's game written on the same kind of dry erase board that's in every NHL locker room.

A couple of hours after the shots were posted, I got a phone call from the team's PR office. The tone of the call was polite, but firm: please take down the photo of the line combinations. Their explanation: the press gets locker room access to facilitate interviews with the players, not to serve as spies for the other team, even inadvertently.

The team still dictates the terms for access to its locker room before the game, and if you want to keep your pass, you learn to live by the rules. Truth be told, Boudreau and McPhee aren't the first figures in Washington sports history to cuff the working media. Back in the 1970s, Washington Redskins head coach George Allen was manic about secrecy, so much so that he damaged his relationship with a number of reporters covering the team. Simply put: we might not think it's a big deal, but we're not the ones fighting for our careers during one of the most brutal playoff series in recent hockey history.

Latest NHL Images

    Russian Alexander Frolov (R) of Los Angeles Kings fights with US Jack Johnson (C) of the same NHL club during a semi-final game of the IIHF International Ice Hockey World Championship in Bern on May 8, 2009. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER NEMENOV (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)

    AFP/Getty Images

    Russian Ilya Kovalchuk (R) of Atlanta Thrashers vies with US Ron Hainsey of the same NHL team during a semi-final game of the IIHF International Ice Hockey World Championship in Bern on May 8, 2009. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER NEMENOV (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)

    AFP/Getty Images

    ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 7: The Detroit Red Wings head to the locker room after a 6-3 win against the Anaheim Ducks during Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 7, 2009 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

    NHLI via Getty Images

    ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 7: Jonathan Ericsson #52 of the Detroit Red Wings collides alongside the boards against Todd Marchant #22 of the Anaheim Ducks during Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 7, 2009 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Todd Marchant;Jonathan Ericsson

    NHLI via Getty Images

    ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 7: Brad Stuart #23 of the Detroit Red Wings gets tripped up against Ryan Carter #20 of the Anaheim Ducks during Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 7, 2009 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Brad Stuart;Ryan Carter

    NHLI via Getty Images

    ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 7: Darren Helm #43 of the Detroit Red Wings trips up Ryan Carter #20 of the Anaheim Ducks during Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 7, 2009 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ryan Carter;Darren Helm

    NHLI via Getty Images

    ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 7: Darren Helm #43 of the Detroit Red Wings checks Petteri Nokelainen #17 of the Anaheim Ducks into the boards during Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 7, 2009 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Darren Helm;Petteri Nokelainen

    NHLI via Getty Images

    ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 7: Tomas Kopecky #82 and Kirk Maltby #18 of the Detroit Red Wings fight to control the puck against Brett Festerling #53 and Mike Brown #13 of the Anaheim Ducks during Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 7, 2009 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Brett Festerling;Mike Brown;Tomas Kopecky;Kirk Maltby

    NHLI via Getty Images

    ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 7: Tomas Kopecky #82 of the Detroit Red Wings fights with Francois Beauchemin #23 of the Anaheim Ducks during Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 7, 2009 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Tomas Kopecky;Francois Beauchemin

    NHLI via Getty Images

    ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 7: The Detroit Red Wings celebrate a first period goal against the Anaheim Ducks during Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 7, 2009 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

    NHLI via Getty Images


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