HBO 24/7 Pens and Caps - Countdown to the Winter Classic




Now would be a good time for the Washington Capitals to start getting hot since they are about to be the focus of an HBO series. The show will be an NHL version of the highly successful "Hard Knocks" series that NFL Films and HBO Sports produce, only this time, they will give viewers a behind the scenes look at how the Caps and Pens are getting ready for their New Year's Day showdown on NBC in the NHL Winter Classic at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.


Monday I caught up with HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg to talk about the series and where his network is heading.


Greenburg on the HBO series » We of course have been doing "Hard Knocks" with the NFL and we have showcased boxing and NASCAR as part of our "24/7" series. A few years ago we began to talk about doing something with the NHL and then as we talked they presented us with the opportunity to do a program leading up to a Washington/Pittsburgh Winter Classic. I mean, we get access to Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby -- that was a no-brainer. I really think that both the casual fan the hardcore hockey fan will really see how rough and difficult this sport is to play over such a long season.


Greenburg on the schedule thus far » We have been embedded with both teams since December 5th and during that time the Pens are on a winning streak as the Caps are on a season-high losing streak. I can tell you that from the very first episode Caps fans will see how Coach Bruce Boudreau, Mike Green, owner Ted Leonsis, Ovechkin and other members of the team are dealing with losing. They aren't used to it and I really think that there is some pretty compelling drama going on there. What fans will see is a very good team that just wants to win, knows they can and are simply doing all they can to get back on track and that is dramatic.


Greenburg on the access to both teams » Just like "Hard Knocks," both teams have given us total access to do the show. This is something new to us because normally we focus on one team and not two, but we now have twice the storylines and twice the drama with the focus on these two great teams as they battle through this early part of the season. I can tell you that Washington has some really animated characters. These guys are very open and very candid which will be great for the viewers to see.

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