George McPhee on Caps-Pens HBO series: 'Let's do this'
If you haven't done so already, head over to the D.C. Sports Bog and check out what the Capitals players had to say about having four weeks of their season chronicled by HBO for a four-part "24/7" series leading up to the Winter Classic. Dan Steinberg also answers some basic questions about the series.
But now on to another question that Capitals General Manager George McPhee acknowledged himself: How does he feel about opening the team up to cameras, and by extension, the public, on a level that they've never allowed before?
"Frankly, it's one of the easiest decisions that we've made with respect to this stuff," McPhee said. "HBO's really good and I said: 'Let's do this.'
"We've been pretty strict with access to the locker room and we've always felt that the locker room at the practice rink or the main rink is really a player sanctuary," he said. "They have to have some place where they can work and have some privacy; that's why we've been strict. But with HBO -- after watching what they did with 'Hard Knocks' and everything else and seeing some of the other programs that they've done, they're big time. We're going to give them unfettered access, because we thought 'Hard Knocks' was great."
McPhee isn't worried about the series exposing strategic details of the Capitals' game plans -- and other information they'd like to keep private -- or that the cameras will become a distraction for the players.
"I think with all the attention our team has had the last couple years, our players are accustomed to this sort of thing," McPhee said. "We've tried to loosen up a little bit and give people access. I don't see it as a distraction. As we've learned with most of our players -- and certainly Alex [Ovechkin] -- they embrace it. They can handle it, it doesn't bother them, it doesn't effect their play."
Although there may be some things the team would rather keep private, McPhee believes the overall benefits of the series giving exposure to the NHL and hockey players outweigh any of those concerns.
"I think if we give them unfettered access and it's done right," he said, "people are going to get the right portrayal of hockey players and like them as much in their unguarded moments as the guarded ones."
| September 23, 2010; 4:21 PM ET
Categories: George McPhee, Pittsburgh Penguins, Winter Classic
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