December 26, 2010


HBO could hardly have asked for better plotlines than merely the convergence of hockey's two best players, but then they got lucky and the Caps went on a long losing streak just as the Pens were on a long winning streak. The contrast is naturally compelling and the artistic use of profanity by Caps' coach Bruce Boudreau has made him the breakout star of the series.

But it's the access to what's being said on ice--with players negotiating the terms of their fights and refs giving them the opportunity to go it--and to their lives off ice that's fascinating.

HBO’s 24/7 Penguins/Capitals proves mastery of the salty language arts (Scott Stinson December 16, 2010, National Post)

I admit to chuckling at the opening of HBO’s 24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic (watch the teaser trailer) on Wednesday night, which included a viewer discretion warning due to violence and coarse language. There was no surprise that there would be sailor talk, but violence? Were they arming Sid and Alex with guns now?

It turns out there was plenty of violence. Within the opening moments, Penguins defenceman Deryk Engelland was bloodied from a fight with Toronto’s Colton Orr, and the camera zoomed in as a doctor put three stitches in his face. Ouch.

Engelland and Orr had already proven the need for the language warning — apparently NHL players really do say “do you want to [expletive] go?” before they fight — but it wasn’t until Washington coach Bruce Boudreau appeared that we got a taste of someone who is a rather enthusiastic practitioner of the salty language arts.

Boudreau, resplendent in a red mock turtleneck and red pants that did little to hide his considerable paunch, addressed his Capitals before a practice, as his team was mired in a losing streak. He casually dropped a few f-bombs, looking for all the world like an angry Santa, but without the hat or beard.

The Caps coach, in fact, has mastered the ability to use that particular curse in a number of ways: verb, noun, adjective, sometimes more than one in the same sentence.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at December 26, 2010 8:01 AM
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