Caps on HBO: Questions and answers
I already talked to the players about being on this HBO 24/7 show in the leadup to the Winter Classic. Here are some more questions answered. And yes, I'm already a bit obsessed.
When will the filming start?
The cameras will be here next week for some promotional work, but they wont' be joining the team full time until Dec. 5. They'll remain with the team for about a month.
What will be off-limits?
They wanted to put a camera in Ted Leonsis's office. He said that seemed "a little bit over the top." But essentially, nothing is off-limits. Cameras will accompany players to their homes, to their cars, to restaurants, to film study, in the dressing room and so on.
"We have told them that we will say no to no request," Ted Leonsis told reporters. "And so they have to decide who they want to follow, how they want to follow, what storylines, what they want to do, and we'll approve it."
"I think they'll what we have to do," Bruce Boudreau said. "I was more worried that they'd come in here and they'd be listening in to us cutting players, which sometimes is very personal, for the player and the coaching staff. But I don't think that's gonna happen, so that's good. Anything else is free game, I think. I think I'm pretty open about stuff, so I think it'll be good."
Will the local media now be granted access to these meetings, too?
"No," Boudreau said.
What's with that black and gold logo?
Yahoo's Greg Wyshynski and I asked the HBO folks about this, and they were caught off-guard. That's the same 24/7 logo they've used for their boxing and NASCAR segments, and apparently no one pointed out that the logo might be seen as pro-Pittsburgh. They said they'd discuss it.
How much of this is about Ovi and Crosby?
"It's a show about the sport, it's a show about the teams and about the journey with two teams simultaneously during a four-week period leading up to a very very unique event," HBO senior VP Mark Taffet said. "It's not specific to any one player, and we know we're going to have a great experience, because these two teams are very open-minded, very creative, and they've shown a great willingness to allow us in places where many cameras haven't been before."
My translation: a lot.
And what will a 24/7 look at Ovechkin be like?
"I don't want to touch that one," Boudreau said. "All I know is for about three hours you'll have the hardest-working player going. I mean, I don't know what he does the rest of the day. I don't ask him."
What does Boudreau think about Rex Ryan, the star of this year's Hard Knocks series?
"I know that he uses the F word a lot," he joked. "I know he grew up in Toronto and was a big hockey fan. And if you listen to him, and what his thoughts are, I thought there was a lot of similarities to the way we acted last year as as team, what our goals were and everything else. Other than that, I like him....Hey listen, I think his personality was great, and I don't know how the show's gonna turn out, but HBO does a great job. I don't know what my role is. So I'm just gonna do what comes natural and they want to see what we're really like. I guess they will."
(Boudreau also said he went back and watched the Jets on Hard Knocks after he found out about this project.
"And I went whooaaaaaa," he said. "You've got some pretty personal stuff going on in here. But it was very great TV."
Do all the players have HBO?
Most seemed to. Some weren't sure.
"I don't know if I have it or not," Brooks Laich said. "I don't have TV right now. They haven't hooked up my satellite."
How crazy is it that the Caps have gone from a half-empty arena to an HBO mini-series in like half a decade?
"This is what I wanted and it's what we expected, and we're a flawed character," Leonsis said. "When you look at these real life dramas, we're the flawed character. And you need foils, you need three acts in the drama, and we haven't won a Stanley Cup. And we have great players and we have a great franchise and a great fan base and I'm proud to expose all of that, but we wouldn't have done this if it was around the playoffs. The playoffs you have to be very, very focused. This is around a month or so of the season and around a very important game, but it's two points."
Any reluctance about being a part of this?
"I was maybe the first to say absolutely positively it'd be fantastic for the league," Leonsis said. "I don't think we have anything to risk. What's the worst that happens, they see a player cursing, they see a player drinking a beer after the game? We really don't have anything to hide, and I think we should always be in celebration of these really unique athletes. And this game will showcase once in a generation talent, and it'd be great to have their personalities come out."
"I've got to believe that there's gonna be some sort of distraction, where they're probably gonna be given access to places that normally we're pretty private about," Boudreau said. "But listen, it's for the growth of the game. It's not too often that hockey is gonna be featured on HBO, which has so many viewers and will be [widely] watched, and I think it's a great build up to the Winter Classic. So I think all of the stuff is good, and anything that makes hockey grow is great by me."
Mike Knuble said the Caps would be more entertaining than the Penguins. True?
"There's a very good chance we'll have a more entertaining show.," Eric Fehr said. "We've got a lot of interesting personalities in this dressing room that are really gonna love the cameras being around."
| September 23, 2010; 2:44 PM ET
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