HBO's 24/7 off to great bleepin' start
It didn't seem possible that there was a coach out there who could use profanity more often than Jets coach Rex Ryan did in HBO's Hard Knocks series. But ding-ding-ding, we have a winner. Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau is the new champ, dropping an unofficial count of 31 F-bombs in the hour-long debut episode of HBO's latest series 24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic, which is following the Penguins and Capitals as they prepare for their outdoor game on Jan. 1.
What Hard Knocks has done for football, 24/7 has done over the years for boxing. But in a brilliant move, HBO has turned its cameras to hockey to pull back the curtain on some of the world's most talented, but under-appreciated and lesser-known athletes. And after the Wednesday's first episode of the four-part series, two things are clear: One, HBO's behind-the-scenes formula is highly entertaining and, two, the show is definitely not for children because of the free use of profanity. The Washington Post's Dan Steinberg counted nearly 80 uses of strong profanity -- which is more than one major cuss word per minute. Even David Mamet plays don't have that much swearing.
Nevertheless, the show is mesmerizing. Aside from seeing what goes on in pregame and intermission speeches, as well as team practices, the show also goes home with the players. It showed new Caps forward Scott Hannan shopping for a new house, Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis spending the morning with his wife and four children before departing on a road trip and Caps superstar Alex Ovechkin getting ready for a promotional appearance. It also climbed aboard the Penguins team charter plane to show how players fill the time in air, from playing cards to reading to playing video games.
And in the highlight, it showed Penguins players pulling a prank on two rookies by moving all the furniture from their hotel room out into the hall.
HBO also was helped out by the fact the Penguins were in the midst of a 12-game win streak while filming began, while the Caps were losing six in a row -- a chief reason why Boudreau spent so much time practicing his profanity.
It really shouldn't be surprising that HBO is turning out another can't-miss sports documentary/reality series because everything they do sports-wise turns to gold. And this is giving the NHL much needed exposure that should only increase interest in the sport. This is yet another HBO show you should not miss as long as you can stomach the strong language.