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(Page 7 of 11)
2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - Capitals v. Penguins

McPhee leaves no doubt who's in charge in '24/7'

Bob Condor - NHL.com Editor-in-Chief

There are a lot of positive takeaways for Washington Capitals fans in Wednesday's second episode of HBO's four-part "24/7 Penguins-Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic" reality series. While an up-close perspective on breaking the team's eight-game winless streak is a high point-- complete with locker-room hoots and fist pumps after beating Ottawa 3-2 -- the peak encouragement comes each time Caps general manager George McPhee is on screen.

McPhee simply looks and feel in charge. He is clear as those laser-blue eyes of his that good teams go through rough stretches and that, no, he is not going to discuss coach Bruce Boudreau's job status. The latter is less a topic now that the Caps ride a two-game victory streak in the much-awaited dust-up Thursday night when Pittsburgh comes to visit (NHL Network-U.S., 7 p.m.). Better yet, McPhee adroitly explains just why he won’t talk about Boudreau while HBO drops radio sports-talk voices into the footage.

McPhee makes a point of saying he steers clear of spending too much time in the players' dressing room to allow the team to jell on its own virtues and relationships. Viewers will be drawn to McPhee's compassion talking over an overtime loss with Boudreau in the G.M.'s office.

Milbury deliberates on Crosby-Ovechkin rivalry

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

"It'll be interesting to see how it goes in the long run. I think it's a great rivalry, but the burden mostly lies with Ovechkin to ratchet it up a notch." -- Mike Milbury

Mike Milbury says he's not in the business of trying to sell personalities in this game.

Maybe "says" is too strong of a word.

Working its way out of Milbury's hard exterior, which was built from his days as a take-no-prisoners player and molded now in his role as a straight-shooting analyst, were several words of effusive praise for Sidney Crosby and a hard look inside what he must perceive to be the soul of Alex Ovechkin on Tuesday during a media brunch inside the NHL's New York offices to promote the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.


Planning the Classic means always shooting for more

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

What else can we do?

It's a question executives such as Commissioner Gary Bettman and COO John Collins ask themselves and any of their business associates after each NHL Winter Classic.

How do we go bigger? Can we enhance the fan experience?

Each year they seem to find a way. Whether it's going to an iconic baseball venue or adding dozens of ancillary community events around the big game, the League keeps trying to top itself.

While the window of opportunity in Pittsburgh is short, only seven days from the League's takeover of Heinz Field to practice day on Dec. 31, once again the NHL along with NBC and the Penguins are going for gold.

Costas still overwhelmed by Classic experience

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

"I think I can get the idea across that hey, if you were in Buffalo or Chicago or Boston, and now this time around in Pittsburgh, this is an event that you'd really want to be at, this is what it feels like to be here, here is the overview, and then we've got (Mike) Emrick and (Mike) Milbury and everybody else to take care of the nuts and bolts. I look forward to it as an event." -- Bob Costas

Bob Costas views himself as NBC's maestro for New Year's Day. He doesn't have to tune the instruments or even play them, but he'll be at the front of the orchestra, using his own instrument -- his famous voice -- to bring the viewers at home through their own television screens and into the pageantry of the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

He's done it to standing ovations and calls for an encore for three years now, and with the rivalry of Sidney Crosby and the Penguins and Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals as his backdrop, Costas expects to hit all the high notes again while leaving it to experts like Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, Mike Milbury and Pierre McGuire to deal with all the hockey jargon.

"My role in this is a lot like my role in the Kentucky Derby," Costas said during a breakfast with reporters inside the NHL's New York offices Tuesday. "I think NBC, they excel at understanding that you can do an event that serves the interest of the hard core, knowledgeable fan, but also broadens it out to the casual viewer. There are people who watch the Winter Classic who might only watch Olympic hockey and the Stanley Cup Final. So we do a very good job in drawing them in and saying, 'Look, this is an event.'


NHL announces musical performers for 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic


NEW YORK -- The 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® will feature an exciting mix of musical performers for the highly anticipated outdoor game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on New Year's Day, the National Hockey League announced today. The youngest among this year's performers will be Jackie Evancho, the 10-year old singing sensation from Pittsburgh who gained notoriety for her big voice on NBC's America's Got Talent. Evancho joins a line-up that includes Juno award-winning singer Steven Page, multi-platinum selling rock band Hinder and Pittsburgh-based rock band The Clarks.

"The Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic is as much a celebration of the host city as it is a celebration of the roots of the game," said Brian Jennings, NHL Executive Vice President of Marketing. "This year's performers have strong ties to hockey and to the city of Pittsburgh, which will add an extra level of excitement for fans at Heinz Field at home."

Heinz Field also will have 'Little Classic' rink

Erica Walsh - Special to NHL.com

The 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field will host 65,000 fans, two teams and one rivalry: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals. This year, for the first time, the teams' journeys to the Winter Classic are being documented in HBO's Emmy Award-winning reality series, "24/7."

Another less-publicized story will play out at this NHL Winter Classic -- the story of the youth pond, which is one about overcoming adversity and peer pressure. This year, the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club's Cannons and the Pittsburgh ICE will show their skills and sportsmanship on the youth auxiliary pond, which will be situated on the Heinz Field playing surface, adjacent to the main rink, where the Penguins and Capitals will face off. 

The Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club has been giving children the opportunity to play hockey since 1977, when it was founded by Neal Henderson. It didn't occur to him then, as he packed 12 neighborhood kids into two cars, that this was the beginning of what was to become the oldest minority youth hockey program in the country.

Homework has already begun for rink-builder Craig

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Dan Craig watched from his couch as CBS's cameras caught fantastic images of the snow swirling around Heinz Field on Sunday afternoon during the Steelers' game against the Jets. Through his own television screen he could tell where snow was piling up, which end zone got worse, and in which direction the snow was blowing heaviest.

This wasn't just another Sunday on the couch for Craig. This was homework for a man who, starting around midnight Friday, will take over that very same field in Pittsburgh to begin its transformation into a hockey rink so the Penguins and Capitals have somewhere to play the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

'24/7' Episode 2 debuts Wednesday


After last week's thrilling first episode of HBO's "24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road To The NHL Winter Classic," Episode 2 jumps right back on the thrill ride with the two teams.

Episode 2 debuts at 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Dec. 22, and follows the Penguins and Capitals as they battle for first place in their respective divisions. Watch the Pens put their 12-game win streak on the line against their bitter in-state rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers, and then head north for a showdown with the New York Rangers.

Meanwhile, the Capitals play the Ducks, Bruins and Senators while trying to end a long losing streak that is jeopardizing their Southeast Division lead.

Fanfare builds in city as Winter Classic truck visits

Sergei J. Feldman - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- It's a long journey between the official announcement of the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic and the highly-anticipated game itself.

Actually, the journey is about 1,450 miles.

Earlier today, the world's largest mobile refrigeration unit made its way to New York City's Rockefeller Plaza and NHL Powered by Reebok Store in midtown Manhattan as part of the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic Truck Tour.

The expedition began in Toronto on Dec. 17 and will conclude at the site of this year's New Year's Day spectacle, Heinz Field, in Pittsburgh, Pa. on Christmas Eve, at which point the rink will begin getting built. Additional stops will include Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

Boudreau hears from his mom after '24/7'

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Bruce Boudreau didn't need to see his now semi-famous profane locker room speech replayed out on his television screen. He didn't need to hear all the expletives HBO's cameras caught him using. He didn't need to watch any more highlights (lowlights?) of his team losing to Toronto, Florida, Colorado and then in New York, where the Caps hit rock bottom.

As interested as Boudreau is to see what HBO put together for Episode 1 of "24/7 Penguins-Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic," he resisted temptation late Wednesday night because he was simply too mad to put himself in front of all that negativity again.

"(It would) probably be one of those things you'd watch if you were on a 10-game winning streak, but we aren't so I don't want to see," Boudreau said Thursday, a day after Anaheim handed Washington its seventh straight loss. "I already lived through the negativeness. I don't need to live through it (again)."
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