In case you haven't heard, this year's edition of Hard Knocks received especially intense attention due to Jets coach Rex Ryan's colorful vocabulary. And with that penchant for swearing, Ryan's giving the Pens-Caps show attention before it even begins:
During a media conference call Thursday afternoon with the commissioner, NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins and HBO President Ross Greenburg, the topic of "salty language" was raised.
When Washington captain Alex Ovechkin was asked earlier in the day if he'd consider censoring himself at any time during the month-long taping for the four-part series, he laughed.
"If I say some bad words, it's going to be Russian words, so you guys don't understand it," Ovechkin said to reporters.
Really, why would anyone be worried about cursing? Because the hockey equivalent of Tony Dungy (if one exists) would be upset? Wouldn't that be a good thing, publicity-wise?
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman doesn't seem daunted by the inevitable cursing, saying, "As you see in any sporting event, there is, occasionally, language that's a little more mature than what you might hear on Saturday morning programming for children." But then there's this:
Greenburg, of course, is all too familiar with reality television. He knows it's only inevitable that on occasion, viewers will be subjected to inappropriate language.
Emphasis ours, because...subjected to inappropriate language? That's why we're watching! We can handle it, promise - and we're certain the NHL can handle a few complaints that might come their way in exchange for the attention the show will generate.
Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy says, "This is exactly why you book the Capitals and Penguins in the Classic: To create a pop-culture phenomenon." Of course, it worked - the game features two Eastern Conference rivals and probably the game's two biggest current stars in Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin.
Though the program doesn't have quite as compelling a concept as Hard Knocks (watch as the guys get ready for a...regular season game!), it's well worth a shot. It's already generating the kind of publicity the NHL could use, and as for the cursing: bring it on.