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2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - Capitals v. Penguins

Flyers' Legion of Doom reunion put on hold

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

"Of course it would be nice to meet up with Eric and John, but now I have a contract with SVT and have to do my job." -- Former Legion of Doom member Mikael Renberg to's Bill Meltzer

The proposed Legion of Doom reunion hoped for by the Philadelphia Flyers for the Winter Classic Alumni Game against the New York Rangers might not happen after all.
On Wednesday, Eric Lindros told a Toronto radio station that he would be playing in the game, and that would lead to a one-day reformation of one of the franchise's most famous trios, the line of Lindros, John LeClair and Mikael Renberg, which helped the franchise reach two Eastern Conference Finals and one Stanley Cup Final in three seasons together.
However, it was learned Friday that Renberg likely would not be able to make the game.

Caps' GM McPhee raves about '24/7' experience

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

"I think what HBO did was phenomenal. They really captured the day-to-day in our business as well as anyone could. They really represented what these players go through in a day-to-day business. I'd like to think what they did has Emmy written all over it because I thought it was great programming. I can't say enough good things about the experience." -- George McPhee

WASHINGTON -- One of the defining sequences of HBO's peak inside the rivalry between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins on "24/7" was a series of scenes where George McPhee was in agony about his team's long losing streak.

The cameras showed the Capitals' general manager and his team at one its lowest points in the past four years, but they were also able to document the club's rebound that culminated with a 3-1 victory against the Penguins in the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

"I think what HBO did was phenomenal," McPhee said. "They really captured the day-to-day in our business as well as anyone could. They really represented what these players go through in a day-to-day business. I'd like to think what they did has Emmy written all over it because I thought it was great programming. I can't say enough good things about the experience."

Record 6.6 million in North America watched Classic

NEW YORK (January 6, 2011) – Saturday night’s Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® on NBC in the U.S., and CBC and RDS in Canada, was watched by a record average 6.6 million viewers in North America. The previous best was 5.7 million average viewers for the 2009 game at Wrigley Field. The impressive average viewership total was achieved despite the fact that a late weather postponement changed the start time from 1 p.m. ET to 8 p.m. ET. Because of the postponement, the NHL Winter Classic went head-to-head with games involving eight U.S. NHL teams that attracted an audience of 585,000 viewers on their local RSNs (see below), while CBC’s coverage included regional broadcasts of the Toronto-Ottawa and Calgary-Edmonton games at points during the evening.. There were also 108,023 fans and potential viewers attending the six games in North America on Jan. 1 (not including the NHL Winter Classic).

Ode to hockey: '24/7' finale hits the sweet spot

Bob Condor - Editor-in-Chief

In the last moments of HBO's "24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic" reality series, narrator Liev Schreiber says, "Hockey won't hold still for a portrait…you jump into it, just as the players do."

Schreiber is referring to how hockey players vault over the boards for each new shift, more often than not rejoining high-speed play in progress. Few sports -- and certainly no others that captivate North America -- involve the fine art of changing lineups on the fly. But hockey players are accustomed to the frenzy.

OK, that's enough about the ending of this finale episode. Don't let anyone -- not a single person, no matter how smitten with the show -- provide any more detail. You will be glad to savor an ode of words and video that, oh, well, OK, it summarizes the series, true, but does so much more to evoke the hockey soul. This passage is to "24/7" viewers what scraping skates and clacking sticks are to pickup hockey players.

Winter Classic a hit in terms of fans, business

The 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, which earned the best regular season U.S. television viewership in 36 years, also drove significant business growth and fan engagement across all NHL platforms.

In its fourth year, the NHL Winter Classic, showed double- and triple-digit gains in all key metrics on and Mobile, while fueling retail growth of 78 percent. As further evidence of the growing popularity of the NHL Winter Classic franchise from both a consumer and business standpoint, all network advertising was sold out well ahead of the broadcast on NBC, and all sponsorship opportunities were sold out as well. Sponsorship revenue for the event finished up 20 percent over last year. The viewership for the U.S. broadcast on NBC gained 22 percent over last year's New Year's Day outdoor game. The game attracted a sellout crowd of 68,111 at Heinz Field as the Washington Capitals defeated the host Penguins 3-1.

'24/7' finale debuts tonight

In its final episode, HBO Sports' "24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road To the NHL Winter Classic" finally reaches its end-goal.

The series finale, which debuts Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT, shows the NHL's ice crew putting the finishing touches on the outdoor rink built at Heinz Field for the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, and all the drama surrounding the biggest regular-season day on the NHL calendar between the Penguins and Capitals.

Following its debut on Wednesday, Episode 4 will be shown immediately after at 11 p.m. ET/PT. Other air times will be at 5:30 p.m. and midnight on Jan. 6; at 9:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Jan. 7; at 9:45 a.m. and 11:40 p.m. on Jan. 8; 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 9; and at 5:30 p.m. and 2:40 a.m. on Jan. 10.

The show also will re-air on HBO2 on at 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 8; at midnight on Jan. 9; and at 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 11. It will be available 24 hours a day on HBO On Demand starting Jan. 6.

All four episodes of "24/7" will be presented back-to-back starting at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 8, on HBO2. The first three episodes of the series currently are available at any time on HBO On Demand.

2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic most-watched regular season game in 36 years

TV audience grows 22 percent over last year's outdoor game

NEW YORK -- Saturday night's Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on NBC (8-11 p.m. ET) was the most-viewed NHL regular season game in 36 years with an average of 4.5 million watching in primetime as the Washington Capitals defeated the host Pittsburgh Penguins in front of more than 68,000 at sold out Heinz Field. The 4.5 million viewers represents a 22-percent increase over last year's game played in Boston's Fenway Park (3.7 million viewers).

Four of the five most-watched NHL regular season games since 1975 are now NHL Winter Classic broadcasts.

Lack of signature moment can't sour Ovi on Classic

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

PITTSBURGH -- While some cried foul at Alex Ovechkin's disallowed goal in the third period of Saturday night's game, the Washington Capitals' captain just kept smiling.
Nothing at that point was going to ruin his night in the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Heinz Field.
"It was one of the best experiences of my life," Ovechkin said, sitting in a dry press conference room after a 3-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins. "It's unbelievable."
Ovechkin had such a blast Saturday night that as he walked down the rubber matting toward the stairs leading to the Capitals' dressing room, he waved at fans and pumped his fists. He did the same thing -- albeit prematurely -- as the final seconds ticked off the scoreboard clock.

Fleury at center of attention throughout Classic

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Marc-Andre Fleury was recovering from a high ankle sprain during the Pittsburgh Penguins' first foray into a Winter Classic, in 2008. Not only did he not get the start against the Buffalo Sabres, he didn't even get to dress and take the ice.

Three years later, Fleury looked like he was making up for lost time early during the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

Fleury started so hot that not even the rain that fell during Saturday night's game against the Washington Capitals at Heinz Field could cool him. He stopped the first 20 shots he faced and added an assist on Evgeni Malkin's goal that gave the Pens a 1-0 lead early in the second period.

Then the flood gates opened.

Fehr finds his game outside

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH – After his first 20-goal season for the Washington Capitals in 2009-10, this campaign was off to a disappointing start for Eric Fehr.

Maybe being the hero in the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will be just what he needs. Fehr collected a pair of goals in a 3-1 victory Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins in front of 68,011 at Heinz Field.

"We felt at Chevy Chase [Club] that we were scoring goals left and right, so we thought, 'This would be something if we can carry this over from the outdoor practice,'" said Fehr's linemate, Jason Chimera.
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