Wait. Hold on. You mean to tell me that the “C” that has been sewn onto Sidney Crosby’s sweater since 2007 does NOT stand for “Cutie pie”? Phew, thanks for clearing this up, NBC. You just blew my mind.
This little nugget of knowledge was just one of many insights into the game of hockey that NBC brought to myself and j’s attention last night as we sat down to watch the highly anticipated (at least on my end) 2011 Bridgestone Winter Classic. The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals met up this year in Pittsburgh to bring the game of hockey back to its roots, outside in the cold (or not so cold in this case, as the temperature in Pittsburgh-as well as here in Ontario-was well above freezing).
This game has been hyped up like no other, mainly due to the two teams involved. The Pens and Capitals have often been pitted against each other as bitter rivals and now with Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin (arguably two of the best players in the league) standing as Captains for their respective teams, well, you can imagine how excited people get whenever they’re one the same ice. And NBC would not shut up about it. We get it. Quiet, modest and humble Sidney Crosby from Nova Scotia and loud, cocky, showy Alex Ovechkin from Russia. So good, but so different! What’s going to happen? I don’t know, how about we actually watch and stop mentioning it every five seconds? Cool.
As for the game, welllll….not the greatest. The Caps walked away with the 3-1 victory, which HBO couldn’t have written better if they had tried, as they’ve been documenting the two teams throughout December leading up to this game (I screamed like a little girl when the NHL posted the series online). By the end of the first episode of 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic, even I was feeling a little sorry for the Capitals, who were in the midst of a slump. But like a true Hollywood tale, the underdogs triumphed, and I died a little inside. Not that the win wasn’t well deserved, even I’ll admit the Pens weren’t at their best, even though Jordan Staal made his debut (yay!) after missing out on the season thus far due to foot and hand injuries.
For the most part, it was a semi-clean game. Ovechkin naturally broke the glass within the first five seconds due to a hit he (unsuccessfully) attempted. He really needs to sit DOWN. And Mike Rupp, in all his giant glory, dropped the gloves. What surprised me though was the insane and completely sketchy hit that Crosby took, during the second period from David Steckel of the Caps. Thankfully, for the Pittsburgh franchise, he shook it off and resumed in the third.
All in all, the Winter Classic was entertaining for the most part and great for creating hype around the NHL. Clearly NBC had a certain non-hockey fan demographic it was catering to, but hey, what can you do, it’s an American station. Thanks, Bob Costas.
With that, I’ll leave you with the amazingly stylish Dan Byslma, who last night looked like he just walked off the Mad Men set and went straight to Heinz Field. Loving the old school. Wink.