The Epix original series "Road to the NHL Winter Classic" premiered on Tuesday night while the Chicago Blackhawks were busy beating the Minnesota Wild 5-3, and as the first episode in the series, it naturally focused on the big stars of both the Hawks and the Washington Capitals.
The show is available on Epix, and can also be streamed live on NHL.com at 9 p.m. Central on Tuesday nights (the show is also available On Demand if fans sign up for a free trial of Epix's online service).
If you missed the first episode, here is what we learned in the first installment of the four-part series chronicling the team’s path to Nationals Park on January 1.
-The show made it a point early on to establish narratives. The Hawks looking for revenge after losing Game 7 of the 2014 Western Conference Final was one, and the Capitals’ transition to a more defensive team over a strictly offensive one under the tutelage of head coach Barry Trotz (along with a helping of dispelling “Alex Ovechkin is lazy” narratives) were the focuses on the Washington side of things.
-There was a particularly cool scene in the middle of the episode where Trotz took his family to the zoo in Washington DC. His interactions with his son Nolan, who has Down’s syndrome, were heartwarming, to say the least.
-There was a good scene with Bryan Bickell discussing his facial injuries he suffered after going face-first into a post. When Andrew Shaw razzes him about the injury, Bickell counters with a jab of his own.
“I drew a penalty. And you guys didn’t (bleeping) score,” he said. Shaw of course had to have the last word, as he joked that it was better to see someone else with a cut-up face.
-At the Hawks and Capitals’ practices, interactions between coaches and players were featured. Joel Quenneville casually skated by Scott Darling during one workout, simply saying “you’re playing tomorrow.” Trotz was a bit more nuanced with Andre Burakovsky, discussing with him the reasons he’s still a healthy scratch from the lineup.
-Speaking of Quenneville, he has some of the weirdest reactions to goals. When discussing Duncan Keith’s tally against the Devils, Quenneville exclaims “back door Susie!” Twice during the Hawks’ win against the Boston Bruins, the coach yelled “peanut butter!”
Stats from the Episode (Cumulative Numbers in Parentheses):
Goals Scored (Game play only, not including shootout)
Blackhawks: 8 (8)
Capitals: 8 (8)
Team Record in Games Featured
Blackhawks: 3-0-0 (3-0-0)
Capitals: 2-0-1 (2-0-1)
F-Bombs Dropped: 43 (43)