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Caps game ops has crazy day

"Now that the Caps have acquired three new players (not counting Jurcina), what does the Caps' media department have to do to work them into the in-game presentation?" Reader Ryan asked me this morning. "I know in years past, it usually takes a week or two to have everything updated, but I was wondering what had to go into that behind the scenes, in terms of planning, shooting, editing and such?"

Great question, Ryan! And since I have nothing to do besides post 73 items about Maryland basketball right now, I found your answer!

Turns out the game operations staff watches the trade tracker on deadline day just as carefully as you do, both out of curiosity and to see how much work they have to do. And it also turns out it's a lot more important to them which players are dealt than which players are acquired. The traded players have to be removed from in-game video packages, from Caps Red Line television segments, from the intro videos pronto, whereas the new players can gradually be mixed in, especially as they start creating Caps highlights.

"It's a fun kind of crazy," Mike Wurman, the team's first-year director of game entertainment and TV production told me, when I asked about the deadline. "It's insane, especially dealing with the TV show and the in-game, because there's so many videos. Luckily it was just one player [dealt], so the work load was a little less. It's nice when they trade draft picks and not players. From a video end, that's a lot easier for us. Now it's just a matter of capturing footage of the new players....I'm hoping somebody scores a goal tonight, so we could start inserting that into the headshot and highlight packages."

Of course, if one of the new guys does score, you won't see a typical headshot package, since those don't exist yet. They'll be taped on Friday, and could be ready in time for Saturday's game, or certainly Monday's. (Alex Ovechkin will also be filmed for a new headshot on Friday, wearing the "C.") With the team now playing five home games in 10 days, the video crew is rushing to get as much footage of the new guys as quickly as possible, so they can begin appearing on the big screen. And until then?

"Basically, if they score [on Thursday night], we'll just have to vamp a little bit," Wurman told me. "It'll look a little funny if one of them does score tonight, and that's kind of Murphy's Law, that'll inevitably happen."

Since departures are worse than arrivals, the December Clark-and-Jurcina-for-Chimera was actually a bigger challenge, especially since the trade occurred the same day as a home game, and since former captain was featured in the team's intro video. That entire video was scrapped that night.

As for Pothier, he was the star of next week's X's and O's segment for Comcast SportsNet's Red Line program. That has been pulled, and will be replaced with a segment in which Nicklas Backstrom discusses playmaking.

"And it's not a slight on him -- it always feels weird, like the guy never existed -- but the fact is he's not on the team any more," Wurman said. "That would be such a glaring moment."

(In this case, of course, they already have Milan Jurcina stuff, so he'll likely be worked in first. His headshot is already ready to go for Wednesday night's game.)

By Dan Steinberg  |  March 4, 2010; 2:22 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Next: Carlos Rogers critiques Redskins' draft strategy


Thanks for this...

So do they just trash all the old material or do they archive? The Jurcina example makes me think it would be smart to archive all material, in case they do return like Juice.

Posted by: ovisgod | March 4, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely fascinating. Even with all the rush, I want their job.

Posted by: patrickneil | March 4, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Nice story. Please convince the Caps Ops folks to give Neuvey a new head shot. To put it kindly it is extremely unflattering. He looks like a slack jawed yokel and obviously he is not.

Posted by: seetrice | March 5, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse


Indeed, and if they need source material for Neuvy, they can get headshots of Bjork...

Posted by: MikeL-Caps911 | March 5, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Hey Dan - did you happen to catch the game and the TWO goals by one of the new guys. Murphy's Law indeed!

Posted by: armonroe | March 5, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Looks like the got some Walker Footage.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 5, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Would love to see the same discussion with the Wizards staff. Seems they would have a much harder time losing four top guys midseason.

Posted by: xlynwoodx | March 5, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse


yeah, he looks like a shellshocked little teenager. and we all know he's better than that

Posted by: j762 | March 6, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Game ops have more work to do. On Saturday night, in the second intermission, the image projected onto the ice after the ice was resurfaced included the back of Pothier's jersey. Some of the stats shown during the game were wrong due to the results of the games on Saturday afternoon and the word "goal was spelled "gaol" in one stat.

Posted by: NovaCath1 | March 7, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

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