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Arlington, Va. -- With the unofficial f-bomb count at 29, it wasn't much of a surprise that among those Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau heard from following the first episode of the new HBO reality series leading up to the Winter Classic Jan. 1 was his mother.
She was not particularly amused by her son's use of the language, or specifically the repeated use of one four-letter word.
Boudreau, for the record, didn't watch the first installment of HBO's highly anticipated and thoroughly engaging documentary "24/7: Road to the Winter Classic," which offers a no-holds-barred look at the Pittsburgh Penguins and Capitals as they prepare for their outdoor date Jan. 1 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
"Probably be one of those things you'd watch it if you were on a 10-game winning streak, but we aren't, so I don't want to see. I already lived through the negativeness. I don't need to live through it [again]. But TSN had one of my locker room talks on this morning and my mom already called me about how many f-bombs I used," Boudreau told reporters at the Capitals' practice facility in Arlington Thursday morning.
Don't expect Boudreau, who ripped his team several times during the hour-long segment that aired Wednesday night, to soften just because he might have irked his mother. The Capitals are currently riding a seven-game winless streak, most of which has taken place since HBO cameras have been embedded with the team.
"Listen it was a passionate speech. It wasn't anything that I'm sitting there and manufacturing up the word just to say the word. When you're talking with passion sometimes I don't know what's coming out of my mouth quite frankly. I know [what] the idea is but that's what came out," Boudreau explained.
Boudreau's counterpart Dan Bylsma did let a couple expletives go, as well, but given that the Penguins were in the midst of a 12-game winning streak when the cameras started to roll, there is less salty language and more good times when the documentary shifts focus to the Penguins.
It is in some ways the beauty of the fledgling series, the immediacy of the content.
Only a few days elapse between the end of shooting and the video's airing for each of the four parts.
If the first segment is any indication, what will unfold will be a unique snapshot of the ebb and flow of an NHL season.
That ebb and flow is not lost on the Capitals who spent almost all of last year riding a Penguin-like wave until they were upended in the first round of the playoffs to eighth seed Montreal.
"You can see the contrasting attitudes of the players you know. There's a lot of good times for them and a lot of heads down for us," veteran forward Mike Knuble said.
Defenseman Mike Green lamented that the viewers may get the impression it's always doom and gloom around the Capitals and that isn't the case.
"Definitely two different two sides of the world. But it is what it is," Green said Thursday.
"Everybody goes through these times. Last year we were at the top of the list and great regular season and other teams struggled that did very well."
"It's kind of interesting that the world gets a perspective of just this time period in our hockey club when it's been a lot of fun here. It's tough to see that because you as a player know it's different. But I think it's good. I think it's good to show us what we go through and how we can kind of look at each other on TV and see we look down. There's nothing to be down about we're going to be alright," Green said.
Indeed some Caps players seemed surprised at how down they did look at various points during the show and that maybe they need to work at not letting adversity effect them so dramatically.
Perhaps seeing themselves on television gives them a rare opportunity to see themselves as others, including Boudreau, see them especially when the puck bounces distinctly the other way.
"I'm hoping that's what they do get out of it. Because sometimes when I'm saying those things, they're coming off the ice saying, 'we're not that bad.' And then they look at that and they go 'holy smokes we look like somebody just shot our mother,' you know. That was the message I was trying to get across, don't get down, get even. Work harder to get back into it," Boudreau explained.
Knuble found the product technically enticing, even if the watching was a bit nerve-wracking.
"It makes you a little uncomfortable. Because you know they shot stuff it just depends on how it's going to be pieced together. You try to recall if you've done anything stupid in the last bit," Knuble said.
"But it's well shot, it's fast-paced and you know you've done so many minutes of interviews and you know they're going to literally take two or three seconds," he added.
"I like the way it's cut, I like the way it's shot. It's entertaining. But as a player you kind of relax when the Pittsburgh thing is going and when you see the Washington part you're like, aaahh, I hope I didn't say anything stupid."
In a kind of crazy art imitating life imitating art (or something like that), the HBO cameras were, not surprisingly, at it again Thursday rolling on the Caps' workout and their comments after.
And if there is some solace to be taken inside the Capitals' dressing room, it's that by the time the next segment is beamed into viewers' living rooms, they will have had a chance to rework their own storyline.
Since the filming ended for the first segment, the Penguins have dropped back-to-back games to Philadelphia and the New York Rangers. The Caps, meanwhile, picked up a point at home Thursday in an overtime loss to Anaheim in a game they thought they played well for most of the evening.
"It's only in the can a day or two by the time you get it out there so it's really relevant. It kind of still is writing itself," Knuble noted. "They don't have enough material yet to make the next show so we've got to give them better material."
Boudreau's mother would no doubt agree.