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NHL's 'Hard Knocks'? HBO Plans Miniseries On Pens-Caps Winter Classic

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I doubt Bruce Boudreau swears as much as Rex Ryan (who is either a Flyers or a Hurricanes fan, nobody knows for sure), but in any event, HBO cameras will follow the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals as they prepare for the 2010-11 NHL Winter Classic.

The four episode miniseries will be called "24/7 Penguins/Capitals Road To The NHL Winter Classic," according to a press release. We doubt the name will become as synonymous as "Hard Knocks," but in any event, it should be a fascinating look at the preparation that goes in to such a unique game.

It also helps that the teams play each other on December 23, just a week before the New Year's Day game.

After the jump, a few predictions on the impact of this new show. 

- Prediction: If their current public images are any indication, everybody will like Alex Ovechkin more than Sidney Crosby when this whole thing is said and done. Look at Hard Knocks, for example. Everybody loves Coach Ryan, the cocky jerk of the bunch. Ovechkin's a cocky jerk too, but everybody's going to love him when this thing airs for just that very reason. He's entertaining. Crosby, as far as we know, is as dry as Liberty University's campus.

- Prediction: According to the press release, this is the first time HBO is doing a show like this that features two different teams. Will the teams see equal face time? We can hear the complaints already: "but the Pens had 36 minutes in Episode 2 and the Caps only had 24!" Or, "Ovi said 165 words in Episode 1, compared with Sid's 85!"

(See, look! It's already happening!)

- Prediction: We'll discover that, when the filter comes off, one of the "nice guys" on either team becomes a potty mouth. We're talking guys like Brooks Laich or Marc-Andre Fleury. On the flip side, we'll discover that some villian is actually a saint. Can you imagine finding out that Matt Cooke recites the Rosary before every game?

In the last year or so, HBO has taken a keen interest in hockey, and with the success of the Broad Street Bullies documentary about the 70s Flyers a few months back, they seem poised to do more of this sort of thing. While fans around the league are clearly ticked off that it's the Pens and Caps getting all the attention yet again, it's hard to blame HBO for going that route. After all, they're moneymakers, and we're all going to watch anyway.

Could this be the next step towards a Hard Knocks-like series covering an NHL training camp next season? That's something to be seen, of course, but if it happens, HBO, just pick a different team. The Columbus Blue Jackets want some attention, too.

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)