Winter Classic: Good, Bad and Ugly Roundtable

Well…we all know that the Washington Capitals beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 4th Winter Classic at Heinz Field over the weekend. Whether positive or negative, it’s probably all the hockey community has talked about since last Friday night. And by now you have read every recap under the sun with forum comments full of Cap fan boasting and Pen fan whining.

But if you missed the game, then here’s the recap to get you up to Chimera Speed, which is almost like Warp speed, but without brakes.

So those dastardly Penguins scored first thanks to Malkinstein. The next period Ole Man Mike Knuble tied it for the Caps with a jam of all jam goals. Eric “I play Santa Clause on TV” Fehr single-handily put the game out of reach with two more goals for the Capitals. It rained a lot. The wind blew at times, and the camera angles were, well interesting. Oh and the Pens chose not the shake hands. Real shocker there.

But what about everything else?

We put our crew to the task to give their Good Bad and Ugly of the overall Winter Classic experience.

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The Good

Krafty: Eric Fehr. Before the season began, I pegged him for a break-out season finally being healthy (and happy with his new contract). I was a bit worried after a slow November, but he seems to have started 2011 with a bang, and with less than 10 minutes of ice time.

Katie:· Varly. Cold weather + less than ideal ice conditions + known groin muscle issues could have spelled disaster. Instead, he was phenomenal all night long.

Wes: The time change to 8pm. Primetime was built for outdoor hockey. The field being lit up by the stadium light made the game so much brighter and crisper to watch compared to the past three day time WC’s.

Kev: The fans actually behaved. I know a married couple who was at the game, one a Pens fan with his family and one a Caps fan with her family, and they had the same to report. It was a friendly rivalry, helped by the fact that the crowd was pretty close to 50-50. They alternated sections by allegiance, so the banter was fun. I think·everyone was too in awe of the setting to really get too cantankerous.

Osborn: Pushing the game back to night. Two new rules for the WC. Never schedule another one below Upstate NY, and always play them at night. Hockey outdoors under the lights is beautiful.

The Bad

Krafty: Disco’s fedora. But really, although he’s not known for his offensive prowess, I’d have to say Chimera dinging the post on a wide open net would be the epitome of bad luck. Another goal in the middle of the second would have further secured the win, and left the Pittsburghers crying in their Primanti Brother sandwiches.

Katie:· Brooks Laich getting whistled for goaltender interference when he was clearly pushed into the net.· If it really would have been goaltender interference, Fleury would have given him a shot for crashing into him, but instead, Fleury got out of his way.

Wes: John Erskine, he is one bad Mama-Jama. Has to have a jaw made of Granite and that’s a mustache that would make Burt Reynolds proud.

Kev: it’s clear to me that Bob Costas and Mike Milbury share one thing in common: neither know a thing about hockey.

Osborn: That interference call on Laich. With a close second being John Carlson’s hockey-sense. Maybe I’m still being a hater, but I just don’t think the game (at the NHL Level) has slowed down for him yet. I feel like I keep seeing him with his back to the puck. Coincidentally, I’m becoming more and more fond of Mike Green.

The Ugly

Krafty: The camera work for the first 15-minutes or so. It was like they hired Pitt’s Freshmen Audio-Visual crew to re-make Blair Witch Project.

Katie:· Ovechkin’s disallowed goal for interfering with Fleury. Ovi clearly made an attempt to slow up and almost catch Fleury as he was falling to make sure he didn’t go down.· If Ovi had time to get back for the backdoor shot, Fleury had time to get back to the crease to stop it.

Wes: More to Kevin’s extent, but Mike Milbury and his commentary,·and not just his constant verbal falacio of the Pens, but he’s not very attract.

Kev: Jet Blue Cam. When was the last time you saw the vantage point of a game IN PLAY change to a view from a passing 747, in any outdoor sport? Football? Baseball? Soccer? Never. It was disrespectful to the game being played on the ice. Can you imagine if a goal had been scored during one of those extended “if you look out the right side of the plane, you can see a hockey game” sequences. Dreadful.

Osborn: Stratosphere Cam. Seriously…hockey can be a tough sport to follow the action on, even if you’re a seasoned fan. This was a Prime-Time, big audience chance to get casual fans more committed to the game. If I hadn’t been invested in the outcome and flipped over to NBC during one of the blimp shots, I’d have changed the channel pronto and not come back.

Ramblings from the Crew

Kevin: I’ve always wondered when the NHL would allow the Sky Cam to zip down behind two defensemen setting up the breakout in their own zone. It’s the hockey equivilent of having the cam behind the quarterback and it’s interesting to see what those D see when they look up ice. That said, you know Varly’s back there cussing at the thing in his sight-line. Now Cessna Cam? If I want to watch ants fight over a piece of lettuce, I’ll go on a picnic.

Krafty: Anyone catch Kolzig’s commentary? That was fantastic. Good to see the man back on the scene.

Katie: And yes, Kolzig was fantastic. It made it worth sitting through Pierre McGuire to get to his thoughts.

Kevin: Aside from Laich getting pushed into Fleury, The officiating looked pretty even. Both disallowed goals looked like good calls by the officials. The fact that Steckel wasn’t called for anything on the Crosby hit tells me that no one got special treatment.

Wes: This week’s Final episode of 24/7 will be epic. A once hot team in the Pens who were riding high hit a big bump and a struggling team who finally finds their stride in time to rain on Pittsburgh’s parade. J.R. Tolkien could have written it better epic storyline. Hey, Malkin would be himself, an Orge.

Kevin: ESPN’s power ranking this week still has the Pens one ahead of the Caps. Sounds right. The Caps are finally back to winning and looking good doing it. Pittsburgh has had a few bumps the last couple games after playing some really great hockey for a while. The fact that they’re right next to each other fits.

Katie: My brother rolling up to our Winter Classic Party in a Flyers jersey – then proceeding to mock Crosby to my husband every chance he got.· My favorite – in a falsetto voice/tone saying “Mario said if we win, on Tuesday night he’ll take me to see Tangled and let me get a large popcorn. He even said I can stay out past 10:00!”

Kevin: Mike Emerick is always a class-act announcer (save for the VAR-la-mov pronunciation at the start of the game). Eddie O? Eeh. How many times do you need to mention hard it was for you to pick up high shots during warm-ups? He wasn’t adding anything to the game with his commentary.

Kevin and Wes: Word on the street was Caps and Pens fans did manage to get along in the stands, so much so that they started a “Flyers Suck” Chant. And the Flyers DO suck. Even Pens fans know that.

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