In normal circumstances, most people only know the Penguins from a distance while the players are on the ice, covered head-to-toe in equipment.
But for an hour on Wednesday, that completely changed.
Viewers got to see the team in a whole new light Wednesday night with the debut episode of HBO Sports “24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic” all-access series that airs exclusively on HBO.
The first of four episodes in a groundbreaking series, which follows both Pittsburgh and Washington as they prepare for the 2011 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic at Heinz Field on New Year’s Day, showed plenty of on-ice highlights.
But it was the unprecedented look at how the Penguins interact with each other behind closed doors that truly stole the show.
The HBO cameras began filming the team at their annual Christmas party on Dec. 5 and followed them throughout the rest of that week, cumulating with the Penguins’ 5-2 road victory over Buffalo at HSBC Arena on Dec. 11.
The cameras caught the incredible camaraderie between the players, with plenty of priceless scenes surfacing over that seven-day period.
Viewers also experienced what it’s like when head coach Dan Bylsma addresses his team and names the starting lineup in the locker room prior to games. They watched him grade players in the office of general manager Ray Shero.
|Behind The Scenes: Pens on HBO 24/7 Show |
Fans even got to see up-close and personal how fights unfold on the ice, with microphones recording the heated exchanged between Deryk Engelland
and Toronto’s Colton Orr on Dec. 8. Pittsburgh’s team doctor put three stitches into a resulting gash on Engelland’s forehead in a wince-worthy scene.
“This isn’t going to be G-rated,” Shero said back in September. “It’s going to be the way things are done and how we do things. It’s an emotional sport, which makes it exciting. It’s passionate. You’re going to be talking about the game and practices and things will come out. That’s what makes the HBO special so great. We have to be who we are.”
For those who have yet to see this other side of the Penguins, there are plenty of opportunities to catch what you’ve missed.
The replay dates for Wednesday’s premiere episode are as follows (all times are EDT):
Thursday, Dec. 16: 5:00 p.m. and midnight
Friday, Dec. 17: 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 18: 10:30 a.m. and 11:15 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 19: 9:00 a.m.
Monday, Dec. 20: 5 p.m. and 1:20 a.m.
Saturday, Jan. 1: 7 a.m.
Sunday, Dec. 19: 11:50 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 21: 8 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 28: 2 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 30: 1:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 8: 1:30 p.m.
Here’s the scheduled debuts for the remaining three episodes, all of which will air exclusively on HBO:
Episode #2: Wednesday, Dec. 22 – 10 p.m.
Episode #3: Wednesday, Dec. 29 – 10 p.m.
Episode #4: Wednesday, Jan. 5 – 10 p.m.
HBO On Demand availability will begin on Monday, Dec. 20.