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McPhee views '24/7' as great entertainment

by Dan Rosen /
George McPhee called it the "quickest and easiest response" he has ever provided.

Can HBO bring its cameras into the Capitals' dressing room, medical room, team meetings, office and perhaps even their homes for an all-access, no holds barred, unique look inside an NHL team and arguably the League's best present-day rivalry against the Pittsburgh Penguins, all in a lead-up to the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic?

Um, yeah, of course.

"We are in the entertainment business," McPhee told "We're trying to win hockey games, but we're trying to entertain on and off the ice as well."

McPhee, who admits he used to be super careful about granting access and giving away private information about his team, said he's made the adjustment to adhere to the new generation of bloggers, tweeters and facebookers. With that he's changed some of his views on how a hockey team ought to be portrayed.

No longer is what you see on the ice all that you get.

McPhee believes HBO's "24/7 Penguins-Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic" will allow "people that love hockey to love it even more, and people that may not know much about the game may really be turned on to it."

He's aware that this is reality TV, so HBO won't be editing out profane language or much of anything that could be controversial. That doesn't concern him.

"We have good people," he said. "We have good people, so we're not concerned about what may develop. We want this to be great TV. We want them to have great access. We want them to see what used to be private moments so people really understand who these players are and the commitment they make to play this game, what they go through to play this game -- the preparation they go through hours before the game and the pain and medical treatments they get after the game and what they have to do to get ready for the next game.

"People like the way these guys play and now they're going to get to know them as people, too."

Count McPhee in that group. He, of course, already knows his players, but he thinks he'll gain a better understanding of them through the show.

"The good thing is I don't know that (dressing) room like the players do," he said. "It's their room and I personally try to stay out of it so I have no idea what will develop. Watching HBO is going to be educational for me, too."

Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said he's surprised that of all people it's been McPhee beating the drum about the show.

The Capitals don't usually reveal much publicly, from the nature of injuries and news and numbers as they pertain to contract negotiations to who is going to be the starting goalie in the next game.

But HBO will get whatever they want.

"I agree, George is very close to the vest and we're a pretty quiet team in that respect, and I'm surprised that he has been the No. 1 guy of saying how open we have to be to HBO," Boudreau said. "I think the words he used were 'unfettered access,' and … they're taking the cameras right into the medical area where they are seeing every bruise and nick and they're listening to every little comment that you have. You're really opening yourself up to them, so good or bad it should make for some unbelievably interesting TV. It's going to be wild. I gotta believe it's going to be one interesting project."

Boudreau, one of the more open and conversational coaches in the business, said he's nervous "because you want to come across as an intelligent person."

"But, I am embracing it," he added. "If it's anything like I think it's going to be then the rise of our sport and the interest of our sport to people that haven't even see it yet … they might say, 'I'm going to watch this game now. I've watched that guy on TV for a month now and I want to see what makes him tick.' And, then, they'll turn on our sport and they might say, 'Hey, not a bad game.' "

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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