First rule of GTOG: Don't bury the lead. We saw Mario Lemieux on ice for the first time in five years last night, and it was glorious. HBO caught Lemieux taking part in a staff scrimmage in preparation for the Winter Classic alumni game, and though he's lost his wheels, the 45-year-old legend is still embarassing goaltenders. He even nearly pulled off the same move he used to beat Al Iafrate and Mike Vernon in the 1990 all-star game. Remember?
The entire hour of 24/7 could have been devoted to Lemieux's scrimmage. Perhaps inevitably, the series couldn't quite live up to last week's debut, although it still gave us plenty to talk about. We'll have additional thoughts later today in Get to Our Postgame, but we get the morning started with the Top 5 Unfortunate Moments of 24/7 Penguins/Capitals, Part 2:
5. Nicklas Backstrom Close-up
Good player. Looks like a member of the 1976 East German women's swim team.
4. Eric Godard's Christmas-Red Suit
Just because you can get away with it, Godsy, doesn't make it right.
3. Alex Ovechkin
The producers tried to endear him to us by taking us behind the scenes to his apartment, where his mother was cooking and cleaning, and his father was modeling an epic toupee. All this did for me is make clear where he got his looks. Mrs Artistry turned to me as Ovechkin lay writhing and moaning on a massage table in the Caps' training facility and said, "He's kind of a douche." And I took her hand in mine.
2. Every Bruce Boudreau Speech
If you thought Boudreau was pushing right up to the edge of pathetic last week, he jumped off the ledge last night. He felt the need to defend his coaching record to the HBO audience, continued to make locker room speeches that lacked confidence, coherence, or any apparent thought ("Getting it deep, getting it deep...getting it deep"), and, to any unbiased observer, looked like a guy who's about to get fired. Lucky for him, Ted Leonsis is not unbiased.
1. Mike Green's Orange Scooter
The fact that the faux-hawked, apparently completely personality-free defenseman is emerging as HBO's featured Capitals' player tells all we need to know about Mike Knuble's previous claim that the Capitals, not the Penguins, would be more entertaining to viewers. Much like the Washington team itself, it's an unfulfilled promise. A ridiculous hairstyle and a goofy ride doesn't make you entertaining. Sid and Duper sitting in their hotel room, telling stories? That's entertainment.
See you back in a few for GTOPG.