If we lived in a world where HBO's cameras followed the Penguins in perpetuity, there is one thing that would never get old: seeing Dan Bylsma announce the starting lineup by saying, "Sid, you ready to go? You should be because you're starting." Then seeing Sid give a subtle tip of his cap. Unfortunately, and perhaps inevitably for Penguins' fans, much of the climactic episode of "24/7 Penguins/Capitals, The Road to the Winter Classic" had the unmistakable feeling of anticlimax. We know we lost the game. It sucked. Did we all really need to experience it again in excruciating detail? That was kind of like getting fired by a boss you can't stand, then going back and watching the behind-the-scenes deliberations by management about how they were going to terminate you, followed by scenes of the subsequent celebration in your supervisor's office.
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Top 3 Moments of 24/7, Part IV:
3) After Sidney Crosby was hauled down on a breakaway, the referees must have thought to themselves, "Well, we do have five million people watching, and we could give the best player in the world a penalty shot in the most dramatic setting imaginable, and a penalty shot is deserved, but let's just give the Penguins a power play on terrible ice instead." After a referree asked Crosby if he was really going to complain about that decision, Sid responded, "Yeah, because I watched 80 games this year, and that's a f---ing penalty shot every time."
2) A relaxed and smiling Ray Shero, to coach Dan Bylsma after the Penguins dropped a game on Long Island to one of the league's worst teams: "What the f--- happened last night? Come on, Dan." Then with a wink to the camera, "You don't have to show that." Nothing in the past month has better illustrated the difference between the Penguins and the Capitals. To Shero, no regular season loss is a catasrophe, and no regular season win is worth celebrating the way the Caps celebrated on January 1.
1) The Penguins' pre-Classic practice was easily the most entertaining segment of the hour. Watching Marc-Andre Fleury taunt shooters, particularly Jordan Staal, with his French accented, "OK, you again, you f---ing f---face," followed by Staal climbing to the top of the Heinz Field rafters as penance for his failure to score? That's the kind of thing that made us love this show.
Bottom 3 Moments of 24/7, Part IV:
3) The opening sequence where we had to hear about how the threat of rain could impact the game, after we had already heard over and over again leading up to and during the actual event that there was, wait for it, a threat of moisture, was not exhilarating.
2) The Capitals' ridiculous gloating after they won two out of a possible 164 regular season points. "F--- them, eh," Bruce Boudreau remarked. "It's not the Cup, but it feels pretty f---ing good." Wait a minute, Bruce, are you sure it's not the Cup? Because I'm pretty sure Alex Ovechkin thought he was holding it as he taunted the crowd after the game.
1) Alex Ovechkin's jiggling little Russian friend. I really don't want to dwell on this. Watch the locker room scene. Actually, don't. I'm still trying to scrub my brain with mental steel wool right now.
Kudos to HBO for a tremendous production, overall. We'll never forget it. F--- you, Geno.