When the HBO 24/7 series started, the Capitals were in a bad place. They were in the middle of a losing streak and starting to come apart at the the seams. The Penguins, on the other hand, were playing incredible hockey and came across as the team everyone should love. It wasn't the best way to get the series underway.
But the good thing about the timing of this show is that nobody knew how things were going to turn out for either of these clubs when the first episode aired. It's not like the producers knew that the Capitals were going to win the Winter Classic and that they would look like David to the Penguins Goliath while doing it. That's just a perfect way for this series to wrap up.
You can't write a story like the one that unfolded over the month that 24/7 chronicled. I was upset at the time, but in retrospect, it was perfect that the Capitals were struggling while the Penguins were playing well. I thought the timing of the show was doing a disservice to the Caps, turns out it was just building drama and creating depth. It made the win in the final episode even sweeter.
As for the game itself, HBO's coverage was everything I could have hoped. Hockey is different than almost any sport because it is literally played behind a barrier. The glass is for safety reasons, obviously, but it keeps the fans at a distance not known in the other professional sports. 24/7 got us into the rink and into the minds of players that we usually don't get to see.
Of course, we knew the Penguins would be whining as much as they were, and we knew that Bruce Boudreau wouldn't censor himself just because he was wearing a mic. There was some beauty in being able to see behind a curtain; even if we already knew what we were probably going to see.
The series as a whole was terrific, but I'm not sure I would have felt quite as positive if the Penguins had won that game, or if the story arch had played out any differently. But because of all that, I couldn't ask for anything more.
Must reads from around the SB Nation network:
- Hogs Haven recaps the 2010 season in picture form.
- Bullets Forever with more on what the dunk contest means for JaVale McGee.
- Federal Baseball on where Mike Rizzo and the Nationals can go from here.
On tap today on SB Nation D.C.: Jake Whitacre tries his hand at some local school bracketology.