24/7 Penguins Capitals Episode 3: The First Meeting
Here are some of the highlights...
-- The episode begins with Washington Capitals power forward Mike Knuble sitting in a chair getting some dental work done, and focuses on the teams recent victory against the New Jersey Devils, which featured Andrew Gordon scoring his first career goal. More physical repair work: Matt Bradley is seen heading into surgery to have pins placed into his finger, a procedure that will sideline him for several weeks.
-- Continuing to show the fierce brutality of the NHL, Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy is shown getting attention after taking a shot to the face, complete with a huge welt -- and a lot of blood -- under his left eye. During the game, a win over Florida, Lovejoy also scored his first NHL goal and was clearly somewhat emotional in the locker room afterward discussing his first goal, getting into a fight and taking a shot to the face all in the same game. On the flight to Washington later that night, Lovejoy's left cheek is at least four different colors and three times its normal size. He then jokingly asks, "can you tell I got hit?"
-- Max Talbot on Capitals fans chanting "We want Pittsburgh": "That's cool with us, they're going to get us."
-- Prior to the game against Pittsburgh, Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau is shown in a pre-game meeting with his team and points out the strategy on dealing with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. On how to handle Crosby, he points out that the Penguins captain doesn't care if he gets run or you leave him alone, whereas Malkin is known to fight back and has a reputation for taking a "stupid penalty." The focus is to get at Malkin and hope he responds, allowing the Capitals to take advantage of a potential power play. The scouting report proves to prophetic when Malkin responds to a big hit from Alex Ovechkin early in the game by taking an interference penalty on his very next shift.
On the other side, Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato points out that the Capitals are great at going from defense to offense and that sometimes a few of their guys are "already on offense when they should still be on defense."
-- 30 minutes into the episode we get a glimpse of what it sounds like when Crosby is working the referee for a call: a lot of expletives and swearing. My count is seven. Ovechkin has a similar encounter later in the period after he is whistled for a penalty. The common theme: Both players think the calls and noncalls are an "[expletive] joke."
-- In overtime, the exchange between the war room in Toronto and the on-ice officials in Washington is shown while attempting to determine whether the shot Mike Green took that was swiped at the line by Marc-Andre Fleury completely crossed the goal line. It's pretty much what you might expect: The folks in Toronto ask what the call on the ice is, and then watch several replays from different angles to confirm (or overturn) that decision. The call is eventually confirmed and the game continues until Pascal Dupuis scores the game winner for Pittsburgh in the seventh round of the shootout.
-- The morning after the loss to Pittsburgh, Boudreau and his sons are Christmas shopping until the excursion gets sidetracked early on by ... the potential for ice cream.
-- Several players are shown hanging out -- and giving back -- during their Christmas break, including Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom hosting a dinner at his home on Christmas eve, Dan Bylsma playing video games and discussing shootout strategies with his son, while also ripping a turkey apart with his hands -- which are covered in bright green neon gloves -- and Mike Rupp dressed like an elf and sled riding with his kids. Capitals forward Eric Fehr and his wife are also shown giving out Christmas presents in the Washington community.
-- Early preparations for the New Years Day rematch at Heinz Field are shown beginning less than an hour after the Steelers Thursday night victory (the same night of the Penguins-Capitals game in Washington) against the Carolina Panthers. Steelers linebacker James Harrison not-so-surprisingly states that he may not be able to play hockey all that well, but if either team needs somebody to be an enforcer, he's waiting for their call.