I'm watching the 24/7 show on the Capitals and the Penguins as I write this, and I can't say I'm particularly happy about it. I'm not the biggest Capitals fan on the planet, and I would never claim to be, but I certainly root for them. And I hate the Penguins. In at least this first episode of the series, the Capitals come off as the bad guys.
When I first heard about the 24/7 series I was really excited because I love the Hard Knocks show they do each year on an NFL team during training camp, and I thought that getting that type of inside look at the Caps would be really exciting. What I didn't realize is that looking at a team in-season is so much different than looking at them in training camp. particularly when they are losing. Hard Knocks never showed a team that was really struggling, because they were playing meaningless games.
HBO caught the Caps in the middle of a losing streak and they don't seem to be responding well to that adversity. Part of that I believe is the pressure the Capitals put on themselves to succeed, which is mentioned many times throughout the show. In the first episode at least, they show the Caps buckling under the weight of their own expectations.
The way the Penguins are portrayed couldn't be more different. They showed the Penguins skating with kids during a holiday party, kissing the young ones goodbye on the way out to a game, even playing practical jokes on one another. Meanwhile, the Caps continue to lose, and coach Boudreau continues to swear.
Some of that is timing. It's not HBO's fault that this sereies started in the midst of a Penguins win-streak and a Caps losing streak. But part of that is the nature of this show which I believe is inherently different than Hard Knocks. Hard Knocks portrays one team. Everyone is the good guy. We are supposed to root for everyone on the roster. This new series is portraying both sides of a game, with two completely different teams and rosters. As a fan and viewer, you can't root for both.
I'm not saying HBO is sculpting the show to make the Caps look bad and the Penguins good, I know they are trying not to be subjective. I'm just saying that with these teams in two very different places, that's the way it comes off. If you weren't a hockey fan and knew nothing about either team when you started watching this show, you'd be a Penguins fan by the time it was over.
I was excited to see an inside look at the Caps. All I'm getting is scowls and swears. This isn't exactly what I signed up for.
Must reads from around the SB Nation network:
- Hogs Haven interviews Redskins tight end Chris Cooley.
- Federal Baseball with some tidbits from the Jayson Werth press conference.
- Testudo Times on the ACC's new basketball vault. You'll want to bookmark this link.
On tap today at SB Nation D.C.: Jake Whitacre takes a closer look at the Wizards' road woes.