Capitals-Penguins 24/7: Final Episode Of HBO's Series Takes Us Inside The Winter Classic

The fourth and final episode of HBO's "24/7" series featuring the Capitals and Penguins aired Wednesday night. Read the StoryStream for a live blog of all four episodes.

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Capitals-Penguins 24/7: HBO Takes Us Through The 2011 Winter Classic

 

  • The Penguins hold a morning skate, where we learn that Jordan Staal will play in the game.
  • At around 5 p.m., the Penguins and Capitals have a police escort that will take them to Heinz Field for the Winter Classic. We see both teams entering slowly, with Alex Ovechkin holding his phone for a camera.
  • Mike Knuble cues up his Rocky anthem, Alex Ovechkin curses at the Penguins (saying f*** this s***tsburgh team) and a brilliant montage begins as both teams go through their normal routines, stuff we've seen in previous episodes. 
  • Bruce Boudreau gives his pregame speech, saying "let's make the best of this." "Let's f***** shoot the puck," he stresses. Dan Bylsma stresses that Ovechkin will hit players and that they can't retaliate. Sidney Crosby will start the game, as Bylsma announces. Boudreau, meanwhile, tells the Capitals that they are the league's best team and they will prove it tonight.
  • They pan to the crowd as the national anthem plays in the background, showing the fans, the owners and everyone. 
  • The fireworks go off. The terrible towels are out. It's gametime. 
  • The ice is, as expected, sticky. Staal's first shot hits the post, and he's all over it on the first shift.
  • The Capitals earn a power play early, and Boudreau begs Ovechkin to actually shoot. They don't listen.
  • Sidney Crosby is taken down, and he can't believe there is no penalty shot. "I've watched 80 f***** games, and that's a penalty shot."
  • Both teams continue to curse at each other, with John Erskine saying "F*** you Cookie," talking to former Capital Matt Cooke.
  • Erskins then proceeds to fight Michael Rupp, which fires up the Capitals. The ice remains uneven as the first period ends scoreless.
  • At the end of the first period, both coaches stress that the teams need to adapt to the ice's conditions. Boudreau encourages the players to chip the puck in instead of trying to stick handle through the zone. 
  • Boudreau again tells the team that they're overpassing and that they need to shoot the puck much more often on the power play.
  • "We're where we want to be. Now it's our turn. Let's go after these guys," -Boudreau
  • Rain begins falling in the second period, but both teams keep soldiering on as much as possible. Ovechkin is stoned by Marc-Andre Fleury, and only a minute later, after Matt Cooke complains about a high stick, Evgeni Malkin scores Pittsburgh's first goal.
  • The Capitals earn a power play, prompting the Penguins to while as usual. This time, of course, the Capitals score, charging the net to tie the game.
  • Alex Ovechkin takes a big hit on a hip check by Crosby, and then comes the big play. Fleury lapses in losing the puck and Eric Fehr scores. A Penguins goal is called off, and the Capitals have the lead for good. The Penguins whine about a penalty.
  • Now, they show the clip of Sidney Crosby getting hit by David Steckel. Crosby comes kneeling to the sideline, but mostly, they are quiet for now. 
  • That is, at least until they get into the locker room, where they are battered and beat.
  • Boudreau: "It's a grunt out f***** game tonight."
  • Crosby said "I don't know what happened. I just turned and got hit," when asked about the Steckel situation. Dirty play, huh, or something you just didn't see coming.
  • Boudreau stresses that the Capitals need to protect the middle of the ice and play with passion. Meanwhile, Crosby is still smarting about being hit by Steckel.
  • It keeps raining, and the Penguins keep attacking. The Capitals botch a clear, leading to a power play, but Semyon Varlamov continues to be on his game and saves all of Pittsburgh's shots.
  • Matt Cooke continues to stir things up, telling Nicklas Backstrom he'll "take his teeth out."
  • Then, they show Eric Fehr's second goal, which puts the Capitals up 3-1 and ultimately decides the game. 
  • The Capitals only continue to attack, and while it looks like Ovechkin scores, the goal is disallowed. Ovechkin protests, but eventually gives it up. The Penguins never get any significant chances, and then, they start going at each other. 
  • At the end of the game, the Penguins continue to curs at the Capitals, and they go after Ovechkin in the closing seconds, to no avail. The Capitals win, and then they celebrate in the pouring rain. The Penguins, meanwhile, walk off the ice without shaking hands, which the Capitals seem to expect. They're still clearly salty about losing.
  • The Capitals' locker room is jubilant, as everyone cheers going in. George McPhee and Boudreau embrace, as Boudreau says "Not the f***** cup, but it feels pretty good."
  • Bylsma gives his post-game speech, saying that "I know it was an awesome experience. We didn't get the result we wanted ... I wanted to f***** win that one."
  • Boudreau: "The month didn't start off so well, but I think HBO brought us luck." Then, he sipped a Bud Light. That was unfortunate.
  • HBO, of course, has to remind us that there will surely be another chapter in this rivalry. Then, there are random shots of the stadium once it ended, with the pouring rain being the best one.
  • They then end with a monologue on the state of hockey, which I can't reprint as I go, but will try to track down once I can. 
  • "They play with an intensity from another age, a passion invulnerable to cynicism and an energy that embraces whatever next."
  • We then get a few clips of highlight from the entire show, a touching montage that reminds us of why this show was so incredible. Call it a "Best of HBO 24/7" mix. It ends with Ovechkin sitting on a training bench and an empty look at the two teams' locker rooms. 
  • "Hockey won't hold still to give you a better look. You wouldn't want it to anyway. It's the action that makes the possibilities endless. The next practice, the next city, and the next game await."

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Capitals-Penguins 24/7: Capitals, Penguins Practice At Heinz Field Before Winter Classic

 

  • After a clip showing Jordan Staal practicing as he hopes to return for the NHL Winter Classic, the TV pans to a variety of weather reports showing the chances for rain. Spoiler alert: it rains.
  • The Capitals go to their last practice, and Bruce Boudreau is angry about the power play. "We're not doing anything like we're f***** supposed to .... Everybody is doing it themselves." The practice focuses on the power play, and Boudreau is as animated as we've seen. He's constantly giving instructions to his point men on exactly what they should do. "It's all about work. If you outwork them ... we're going to have success." He then says "Let's get to f***** Pittsburgh and see what happens."
  • The Caps then fly to Pittsburgh, where they then drive to the hotel. One bus has a message that says "Ice the Caps." 
  • The Penguins arrive for an outdoor practice at Heinz Field, and Pascal Dubois finds a Steelers helmet that he decides he will wear to practice. He actually follows through on his word, which is a bit scary. They then go through a shootout contest, and any player who fails to score has to climb to the top of the Heinz Field bleachers. No wonder the Penguins looked tired in the game. (My hate is strong, what can I say). Goalie Marc Andre-Fleury stones Jordan Staal, who is forced to run, which is ironic because his status for the Winter Classic is up in the air due to an injury. He stumbled up the steps slowly, but surely.
  • The Capitals follow with their own practice at Heinz Field, stressing that "there's no such thing as soft passes" because of the status of the ice. It's a short practice, but they want to get accustomed to the ice. "Hard passes," Boudreau stressed. "No f***** soft passes." The Capitals describe the whole thing as "skating in a bunch of quicksand." 
  • Boudreau says after the practice that he's "90 percent chance" the game will start at 8. "It's an exciting event, but it's still two f***** points we're going to take off these pricks."
  • The camera then pans to an NHL conference call with Colin Campbell where they decide to have the game start at 8, saying they will issue a statement at 5. 
  • The Capitals then have a modest New Year's dinner with family and friends. "Dinner, a diet coke, and then I'm sure a lot of players will head upstairs and everyone else will have fun," says Mike Green. Mike Knuble has to deal with his kids, who he thinks will be in bed by midnight anyway.
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Capitals-Penguins 24/7: Washington Practices Outdoors To Prepare For The Winter Classic

 

  • The show begins with a look at the men that are preparing the ice for the Winter Classic. They describe how they work 10-hour shifts, how they bring the ice in and the ominous weather forecasts. For now, all they're doing is preparing as normal.
  • Next, the show goes to Pittsburgh to recap the Penguins' home game against the Thrashers, where Sidney Crosby extended his points streak to 25 games. The camera pans to Mario Lemieux, who is excited, and then to the players' wives and children. The Penguins win, and Matt Cooke takes the shovel and greets his kids. He then brings his kids into the locker room to show his son's custom suit to his teammates and to his coach. He then kisses his kids goodbye and goes to the plane. Pretty routine stuff.
  • As for the Capitals, they now are playing against Montreal, in a game they won 3-0. They barely show anything from the game, even though it was a huge win. DISRESPECT!
  • Bruce Boudreau said the team "competed their ass off," and discusses the team's outdoor practice. He says there's "nothing there except your equipment, so don't expect to see a lot of the s*** that's around here." This should be fun.
  • Mike Green talked about playing outdoors, right as the camera shows shots of kids playing on the outdoor ice. The Capitals end up going to the Chevy Chase Club instead. They paint their faces black, to deal with the sun, and some people are more imaginative than others.
  • Oh, and Sidney Crosby's points streak ended. Excellent.
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Capitals-Penguins 24/7: Final Episode Of HBO's Series Airs Wednesday Night

The NHL Winter Classic may be over, but that doesn't mean that HBO 24/7 is quite finished. The show will air its final episode tonight at 10 p.m., and you can be sure that the focus will be squarely on the January 1 game, which saw the Capitals defeat the Penguins 3-1.

In the previous episode, at least half of the show was dedicated to the December 23 game between the two teams, seeing as it was a preview to the Winter Classic. While we didn't get nearly as many colorful moments (though Bruce Boudreau doing his holiday shopping was entertaining), we got much more detail about the intensity of that game. With so much happening before the Winter Classic, thanks to the weather and all that, there promises to be a lot of great behind-the-scenes action in this final episode.

The show will air at 10 p.m. on HBO, in its normal time slot. We will be chronicling it all right here on SB Nation D.C. Check back in this thread.

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Capitals-Penguins 24/7: NHL Video Review Room Concludes Mike Green Non-Goal Is Conclusive

Some of the most entertaining parts of tonight's 24/7 episode were the locker room scenes between periods. Dan Blysma and Bruce Boudreau have each won a lot of games as coaches of their respective teams, and it shows in their speeches. The thing about Blysma though is that he doesn't seem to have a whole lot of respect for Michal Neuvirth.

"We gotta shoot the puck. We had two two-on-ones that we chose not to shoot the puck on. This goalie isn't that good. He will give us rebounds. He has. And he will give us cheesy ones on the net ... 20 minutes to go here on the road. Its a 1-1 game. Right where we want to be ... 52 [Green] is up to 21 minutes. We gotta keep going after him. Keep making him play."

Another compelling element of HBO's broadcast was the scene inside the NHL Video Review Room at the NHL Office in Toronto. I'm sure I'm not the only sports fan who didn't realize that there's a video room up north that monitors every ongoing hockey game at the same time. In the end, the result of the review of the nongoal by Mike Green that was saved by Marc-Andre Fleury was as crushing tonight as when it happened live. Said "Kinger," the representative in Toronto, "We can never determine if this puck completely crossed the goalline. We're inconclusive. You have no goal. We're going with your call on the ice."

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Capitals-Penguins 24/7: Alex Ovechkin, Bruce Boudreau Discuss Feelings Towards Penguins

With the game looming between the Penguins and Capitals, each team gets psyched to play. As the Capitals head to the arena, we hear about what they really think of their Pittsburgh counterparts. First, Alex Ovechkin:

This is a huge rivalry. It's kind of what we want right now. We want a game where we feel good. We have to play and we have to win. It's going to be like a war."

Ovechkin gave the generic player answer, but Bruce Boudreau doesn't sugarcoat anything when discussing his and Ted Leonsis' feelings:

I remember my first year here. We were starting to win. And the first game we played against Pittsburgh, we lost. Mr. Leonsis was upset, saying 'These guys beat us all the time. They've beaten us all the time. I hate these guys.'"

No words can describe what this rivalry means to both teams. With the game hours away, actions will definitely speak louder.

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Capitals-Penguins 24/7: Bruce Boudreau Wants Capitals To Hit Evgeni Malkin

With the focus of Capitals-Penguins 24/7 turning to the Penguins, we see one of the harsh realities of hockey: a puck to the face of Ben Lovejoy, who had scored his first NHL goal earlier in the night. After the game, all Lovejoy could talk about was the goal, and the win. Pleasure always outweighs pain.

Leading up to the big rivalry game though, it was a different kind of pain that Bruce Boudreau was discussing with his troops. Boudreau outlined his strategy for how the Capitals intend to handle Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in their upcoming games against the Penguins.

I don't think it bothers Crosby whether you run him or whether you don't touch him. He's gonna play his game.

But Malkin's a different animal here. I think if we, if every chance you get you hit him, he's gonna come back at you, and he's gonna try to get you back. And he's gonna take a silly penalty. And he's done this a lot. Like if you f*** with him in the zone here, he's gonna screw right back with you, and he's gonna get the retaliation penalty. And it gets him off his game. Let's make sure we're finishing the check on him, pushing him, getting in his face. When he retaliates, we take advantage of the retaliation and get a power play out of this.

And what happened in the game later that day? A penalty to Malkin. Two minutes for interference.

But it doesn't help if the Capitals can't score off their resulting power play. Moments after leaving the penalty box, Malkin assisted to Crosby for the first goal of the night.

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Capitals-Penguins 24/7: Mike Knuble Goes To The Dentist, Fans Want Pittsburgh

For the first time, HBO's "24/7" series started with a Capitals segment. Mike Knuble is in the dentist's chair as he has the brackets removed from his broken jaw. Knuble, always the tough guy, leaves with a smile on his face, signing a jersey before leaving the office.

Brooks Laich is leaving his home in a rental car and decides to test the engine, which "has nothing."

Meanwhile, the Capitals face off against the New Jersey Devils. Andrew Gordon scores his first NHL goal, making him the second player to earn his first career goal on the show; Dustin Jeffrey scored his first goal for the Penguins on an earlier episode.

Gordon earns the hard hat from Perreault, but not before mistakingly calling him Jay Beagle. Awkward...

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Capitals-Penguins HBO '24/7' Episode Two: Caps Win, Fist Pump

The Capitals find themselves down 2-0 to the Ottawa Senators after the first period Sunday. Bruce Boudreau does his best to rally the troops.

I see too much where, some of us, not all of us, are accepting the plight we're in and going 'Here we go again.' This is really an important period for this year. You've got to say 'It's f****** over.' If you don't say it's f****** over, then something bad can really f****** happen. I don't think we want the bad things to happen. So let's get out of our f****** funk and f****** go and do it right now.

It works, because the Caps score three goals in seven minutes to take the lead and keep it for good. In the locker room, the Capitals "WOO" more than Ric Flair, Matt Hendricks asks for cigars and champagne and the entire locker room fist pumps like Ottawa was New Jersey. Hopefully, the Capitals will continue to fist pump Thursday when the Penguins come to Washington for their first match-up of the season.

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Capitals-Penguins HBO '24-7' Episode Two: Caps Head North To Fight Demons, Matt Bradley Finds A Lobster In His Jacket

The losing streak has hit two weeks and the media is running wild with the story. George McPhee gives his opinion about the media, saying that if they knew the game of hockey, they would be playing it. Bruce Boudreau agreed wholeheartedly. Guilty as charged.

The Capitals' first road trip of the season shows the the team eating dinner. Pranks are played throughout the night. The first comes via Mathieu Perreault, who puts sauce on someone's shoe. Then Matt Bradley finds a lobster in his jacket.

In Saturday's game against the Bruins, the Caps find themselves down 3-0. Normally soft-spoken Mike Knuble provides the commentary during the intermission.

Today, it's 3-0 and it will not f****** be one of these laughers again. It will not f****** turn intoo a 5-0, 7-0 f****** laugher. Where they're f****** giggling getting out of their f******* mess here. We are f****** down 3-0 and we are going to come back and we're gonna f****** win this thing. We're not f****** going in the thank. That is enough right there. That's f****** more than a year's worth. It's not going to happen again.    

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Capitals-Penguins HBO '24/7' Episode Two: Christmas Comes Early As Caps Get New Gear, While Ovechkin Shows His Soft Side

In a meeting, George McPhee and Bruce Boudreau go over the Capitals' recent struggles. McPhee believes that "adversity is a good teacher" and that the streak "could be the best thing that could ever happen to us."

Meanwhile, before practice, the Capitals have received new gear, which excites everyone but Jason Chimera, who gets two left gloves.

Alex Ovechkin gets a massage and a lesson in anatomy while suffering cramps in his leg. He heads home to pack for the Caps' weekend road trip. He packs his Playstation and has dinner with his "entourage," his mother and father. While he admits that he will move in with his wife once he finds one, he loves living with his parents as they help him clean and cook. Nothing like a guy living at home with his parents. Or a guy's parents living with him.

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Capitals-Penguins HBO '24/7' Episode Two: Bruce Boudreau's Philosophy On Winning, Capitals Take On Ducks

The focus shifts to Bruce Boudreau and the origins of his coaching philosophy.

"You just look at the records of the teams that I've played for and coached. We've been successful. And I think one of the reasons is that I hate to lose. I've got my standards...and when they're not happening, I'm visibly upset."

We would have never guessed.

Anyways, the Capitals are getting ready for their game with the Anaheim Ducks, a game that saw the Capitals get many chances. Ultimately, the Caps would fall in a 2-1 overtime loss for their seventh straight game. Afterwards. Boudreau wasn't as visibly upset as he has been, but still managed to curse a lot.

That was a tough because you played your hearts out. If you play like that, you're going to win an awful lot of games in a row. It was a tough f****** loss at the end, made a mistake or two, but that's f****** it. You got a f****** point and that's a start. It's f****** a start uphill, so don't get f****** depressed and hang your heads on that one. That was a great f****** effort from everyone."

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Capitals-Penguins HBO '24/7' Episode Two: Caps, Boudreau Talk About Fighting

Previously on HBO's "24/7," the Penguins were winning and happy, while the Capitals were losing and sad. This week's episode started with the Penguins losing. Suffice to say, the show got off to a great start.

Mike Green looks like a tough guy on a Vespa as he heads to practice. He and Matt Hendricks are talking about injuries when head coach Bruce Boudreau joined the conversation and told Hendricks that he hopes that he doesn't need to fight every night and to take the night off from it. Boudreau believes that every team needs a player like Hendricks, someone who will have his teammates' backs.

Hendricks mentioned that his fighting mentality was engrained in him early in his career. 

It comes down to having a job and making a career. I think it all started last year when I went into training camp. The season before, I had a really good camp, had some goals and was still sent down to the minors....I needed a way to make the opening night roster. Talking to a good friend, he said 'You gotta fight. If you don't, someone else will.' I kind of stick by that motto now.

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Capitals-Penguins 24/7: Caps Players Adjusting To HBO Cameras

Mired amidst a seemingly never-ending losing streak, the Washington Capitals have had to adjust to the near constant presence of the HBO cameras monitoring their every move. A while some Capitals have adjusted to the presence of the camera being constantly upon them, other have had trouble adjusting to being constantly in the spotlight.

Katie Carrera of Capitals Insiders caught up with some of the players to get their opinion of having every moment of their hockey playing lives recorded:

Eric Fehr:

"Personally, I don't really like having cameras around all the time. You always have to be looking out for them where they are and what they're doing. We're slowly getting more used to it, and by the end we won't notice them and we'll be winning and everything will be great."

Tom Poti:

"It's definitely hard to forget that they're there, and it's a little bit of an annoyance right now."

Mike Knuble:

"When they were in the first couple meetings, Bruce is talking strategy and what we're trying to do and what they're going to do -- you just felt exposed. You felt kind of naked. You're in there, and you go: 'Oh my god, they're seeing all that.' Now I think we're all kind of used to it."

It might things a bit easier on the Caps if they started winning games. The concerns over the cameras might magically disappear. No one likes their ugly side portrayed on film. However, winning is balm that salves all wounds.

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Capitals-Penguins 24/7: In New York, A Lot Of F-Bombs Are Dropped

The Capitals take the ice at Madison Square Garden Sunday looking to end their five-game losing streak. Bruce Boudreau wanted a positive start, but as we all know now, that didn't happen as the Capitals got their proverbial clock cleaned in a 7-0 loss to the New York Rangers. 

During a stoppage in play, Brandon Dubinsky tells Alex Ovechkin that he "needs to get [his] beard back, baby." Ovechkin replies, "Yeah, you're going to see it soon." Gillette might not be too happy about that.

After falling down by several goals, Boudreau calls a timeout.

We're looking f****** defeated! We're looking f****** defeated right now! Show some f****** courage! F****** play the game properly! You'll score three f****** goals if you do! I'm f****** sick and tired of losing. Let's f****** get our asses out of our heads.    

Boudreau was so mad, he got his words mixed up. I would think that means he's pretty mad.

Dubinsky and Ovechkin fight later in the game, but congratulate each other afterwards with respective "Good job, buddy" compliments. But then Ovechkin screams towards his bench.

F****** come on for f***** sakes!   

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Capitals-Penguins 24/7: Pittsburgh's Dustin Jeffrey Debuts, Scores

If this premiere episode is any indication of things to come, Capitals fans might not be happy. Washington has often appeared frustrated and almost desperate. The Penguins are just having fun playing games and winning. Still though, we'll see how this all shapes out on Jan. 1.

As HBO turned once again to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 20-year old Dustin Jeffrey was featured. The young forward is getting his first NHL appearance ever in relief of injured Evgeny Malkin. As if things weren't going well enough already for the Penguins, Jeffrey scores his first career NHL goal in the second period.

The Penguins' opponent in this game was the Buffalo Sabres, and they may have just become my second favorite team in the NHL. Mike Weber of the Sabres picked a fight with Sidney Crosby and got the better of him for a moment before Pittsburgh's Chris Kunitz had to come over to rescue his precious little captain. You'll see in a minute what happens when Washington's captain gets in a fight. No help is necessary.

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Capitals-Penguins 24/7: The Flu Invades Kettler, Mike Green Hurts Knee

The flu has hit the Capitals and some players, including Boyd Gordon, are sent home. Despite that, the Capitals hold a full practice. Matt Hendricks believes that working on goal-scoring is the top priority. A scrimmage provides some laughs and smiles, but Mike Green leaves practice with a MCL injury.

Those laughs and smiles are gone after Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Even the referees got into the cursing wars; when Alex Ovechkin asks for an explanation for Alex Semin's ejection for cross-checking, the ref tells him that John-Michael Liles is "f***** cut wide open."

After the game, Bruce Boudreau doesn't stop cursing, but at least it's positive this time.

Great f****** game and you didn't get rewarded for it. But that's sometimes what happens. And you can't get discouraged by it. You got to f****** push through this little thing. And when it does, you'll already be where you have to be all the time. Don't get discouraged. I know it's f****** tough, but you played a good f***** game. Keep your head up. You play like that tomorrow, I guarantee you come away with two points.    

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Capitals-Penguins 24/7: Bruce Boudreau Isn't Happy

In the fourth game of the Capitals' current seven-game losing streak, the Capitals allowed a goal to the Florida Panthers with just one second remaining in the second period. As we learned tonight on HBO's Capitals-Penguins 24/7, that made Bruce Boudreau pretty upset. In fact, he was so upset that he used some derivative of the word f*** 15 times in a speech between periods.

Some highlights of the speech are as follows:

"I have never seen a bunch of guys look so f****** down when something bad happens. What are you guys like prima donna perfect that you can't f****** handle adversity? So s**** not going right, its not f***** working the last 10 days. F****** get your heads out of your a** and f****** make it work by outworking the opposition ...

Outwork the f****** guys. If you want it, don't just think you want it. Go out and f****** want it. But you're not looking like you want it. You look like you feel sorry for yourselves. And nobody f****** wants anybody thats feeling sorry for themselves.

For what it's worth, that game ended with the Panthers scoring two more goals in the final period and winning 3-0. Is that a statement on Boudreau's style of locker room speech. In that game, it didn't really seem to be effective.

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Capitals-Penguins 24/7: Pascal Dupuis Gushes About Sidney Crosby, Team Plays Pranks On Rookies

Getting ready for a road trip to Buffalo, Pascal Dupuis plays with his children before leaving. He speaks to his children in French and asks for his kid's predictions for their upcoming games. The kid says they will win both games, but they will ultimately win one, losing to the Flyers to snap their 12-game win streak, On the car ride over, Dupuis gushes about playing on the same line as Sidney Crosby and how great he is. At least it's one of Crosby's teammates instead of Don Cherry.

The Penguins' charter has big, blue plush seats with the primary logo on the headrest. The Penguins pass the time by playing PSP, poker or reading. Bragging about their virtual conquests, Marc-Andre Fleury calls Max Talbot a "douche." Amen.

While most of the players are at dinner, some stay behind to play pranks on rookies Ben Lovejoy and Mark Letestu by pushing their hotel room furniture into the hallway.

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Capitals-Penguins 24/7: Penguins Have Holiday Party, Max Talbot Fights Children

The Penguins are having their annual Christmas party. Max Talbot is seen putting on an ugly sweater. Talbot, "one of the Penguins' most popular players," says that his role on the team is "being himself." Provide your own commentary there.

The Christmas party takes place at the Consol Energy Center and the Penguins players bring their children to skate on the ice. Pascal Dupuis is shown with his young son, wearing Dupuis' #9 with "Daddy" on the back. That should become a favorite among female Penguins fans very soon.

The narrator even mentions Talbot's affinity for fighting with his teammates' kids. Former Capital Matt Cooke's son takes a run at Talbot, who laughs it off. Capitals fans now have some sort of clue where Talbot's childish antics come from.


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Capitals-Penguins 24/7: Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Scott Hannan Featured

When focusing on the Penguins, HBO has spent an awful lot of time discussing the team's facial hair. After a segment on Dan Blysma's "Steel City Fairytale" and Matt Cooke, the toothless aggitating "moustache boy," 24/7 turned its attention to Alex Ovechkin, his sponsorship deal with Gillette and a brief shot of the Russian star shaving in his underwear. HBO showed a flurry of Ovechkin's career highlights. Famously passing the puck off the boards and back to himself before falling to his butt and scoring anyway, Ovechkin is a human highlight reel.

HBO turned next to Nicklas Backstrom and his charitable service around the city of D.C. Backstrom was shown skating in at the Sculpture Garden with fans, sharing a few nice moments in the cold.

Newcomer Scott Hannan was also featured. Hannan has the unfortunate coincidence of arriving in D.C. at the same time as the start of Capitals' losing streak. Said Hannan, "It's better this happens now so we can deal with it, sort things out, and then we'll be ready for the playoffs." Hannan was shown looking for a home to rent with his wife and 10-month old son.

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Capitals-Penguins 24/7: Bruce Boudreau Opens Up, Holds Nothing Back About Losing Streak

Meanwhile, in Washington, the Capitals are in the midst of their now seven-game losing streak. In a team meeting last week, Bruce Boudreau voiced his concerns.

It's a tough month and HBO is in here, but at the same time, I can't sit here and watch what we've been going through without saying what needs to be said. I can guarantee you in the Pittsburgh locker room when they've won 10 in a row and they're undefeated in 12 games, everything's laughing and jokes and they're going to be talking about the two teams. One struggling and one having the time of their lives.     

That was the nice version. After last Monday's 5-4 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boudreau was a bit more blunt.

Look, its a 60 minute game. I don't know what happened in the third period, but we quit playing the game. There's one thing about playing defensive hockey and there's another thing about quitting playing the game. We let them f****** come into our barn and score three goals in the third period. It's not right. Be ready for work Thursday.

Boudreau would then compare coaching to parenting. Perhaps that is what tough love really means.
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Capitals-Penguins 24/7: Sidney Crosby And Deryk Engelland Highlighted

Surely HBO would prefer the Capitals and Penguins to be battling atop the Eastern Conference leading into the 24/7 mini-series and the Winter Classic this New Years Day. Unfortunately for Capitals fans, Washington has dropped seven-straight games, but that doesn't make this event any less interesting.

Tonight's premiere began with an introduction to Pittsburgh's roster, with an unsurprising focus on Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury, the Penguins' winning streak and Crosby's annoyingly prepubescent moustache.

Also highlighted was a fight between Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland and an unfortunate member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, one of four fights that night in Pittsburgh. Engelland headed straight to the locker room for stitches afterward. John Erskine probably wouldn't have needed stitches.

The Capitals are up next. We'll bring you updates live tonight as they happen.

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Capitals-Penguins 24/7: HBO's NHL Winter Classic Series Begins Wednesday Night

The anticipation for the 2011 Winter Classic between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins can officially begin starting on Wednesday night at 10 p.m. That's when the first episode of HBO's "24/7, Penguins/Capitals: Road To The NHL Winter Classic" will hit the airwaves. The show will be on in the same time slot for the next four weeks leading up to the big game on January 1.

The show will give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at both teams as the prepare for the biggest game of the NHL's regular season. The show is as real as real gets, much like the critically-acclaimed "Hard Knocks" series. Considering the Capitals have been struggling recently, there promises to be a lot of adult language and stuff you may not want your kids seeing. Indeed, as we noted here, the series producer said we should expect a lot more "vulgarity" than in "Hard Knocks."

There are many questions that will be answered by the series. How many languages will the Capitals curse in? How intense a coach is Boudreau, really? What is Alex Ovechkin like behind closed doors? Are the Penguins as eccentric as the Capitals seem to be? Who will emerge as the breakout star of the show? How many times will Sidney Crosby be referred to as a "leader" while Ovechkin is called "flashy?" To help guide everyone, Yahoo! Sports' Puck Daddy provided this handy drinking game for the show's premiere.

We'll have updates and stuff throughout the process in this StoryStream.

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