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STUDIO: Warner Home Video
RUNNING TIME: 1200 minutes (!)
Our nation’s capital falls to the Russians.
Dale Hunter, Joey Juneau, Olaf Kolzig, Peter Bondra, Mike Gartner, Alexander Ovechkin, Bruce Boudreau, Nicklas Backstrom
Washington Capitals: Ten Greatest Games chronicles the meteoric rise of one of the biggest joke teams in hockey to a fierce bunch of rowdy, bad ass Russians that have taken DC by storm. The ten games are spread out (albeit unevenly) from 88′ to last year’s season and, of course, give plenty of face time to arguably the best player in hockey, Alex Ovechkin.
Alright, I don’t give a fuck who you are 10 hockey games is a lot of hockey. Truth be told I’m not much of a sports guy. Hockey is pretty much the only sport I can stomach to watch as it’s fast paced, back and forth nature holds my attention. I also know hockey to be a extremely physically demanding sport, but after sitting through Washington Capitals: Ten Greatest Games I have to say actually watching this much hockey is just as much if not more psychologically and emotionally draining.
One can argue that a 10 disc set on the Washington Capitals is about 9 discs too many. Up until the past ten years or so the Capitals were resign to being the laughing stock of the Eastern Conference. A couple lucky breaks followed by shocking missteps aside, the franchise as we know it floundered until the addition of Ovechkin in 2004. It’s not surprising that this is time frame where most of this set takes place, trading 35+ years of history for the highlight reel of one player. Luckily, that player just happens to be the best playing the sport today.
Discs 1 thru 3 features the team pre-Ovechkin. Game 1 is one of those neat old games showing the team back in 88′ beating the Flyers 5-4 in overtime. Game 2 is supposedly important because they come back to beat Pittsburgh 6-4 on the road during the 96′ Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, even though they’d end up blowing the series 4-2. Game 3 has the Capitals besting the Sabres in overtime to win the Eastern Conference for the first (and only) time in franchise history against Buffalo.
Discs 4 thru 10 focus on the Ovechkin era, and like the home movies of a proud parent pour over his every move. Ovechkin’s first game! Ovechkin goes to the zoo! Ovechkin scores 4 goals with a broken nose! Overchkin’s first post season! There’s no denying the dude’s a stud but mining 7 games from the past 4 years is stretching the material a bit too thin. Boudreau and Baskstrom are both showcased in a game against the Flyers, but once again it’s ironic because that same season they would get kicked out of the playoffs by the Flyers. Oh, and in case you’re keeping track that was another overtime win as well. Most of these games go into OT, making them even fucking longer. It would seem the Capitals have a hard time finishing their shit up in regulation.
The problem with this set tries to straddle the line between summing up a franchise’s history and giving one of the greatest players to ever grace the ice his due. As with most things in life, when you try to accomplish too many things at once you just end up fucking everything up royally. It is kind of neat to see the different network logos change over the years. The mid-nineties ESPN2 logo is indicative of what you’d think any mid-nineties logo would look like, very spashy and alternative as opposed to the sexy, streamlined VS graphics.
So what’s missing? The total lack of special features is pretty noticeable. I’m a sucker for footage from the older games, and the farthest back we get on this set is 88′. It’s also odd they didn’t include the 06′ game against the Coyotes were Ovechkin scores one of the most incredible upside down/behind the back goals (seen here) in hockey history. And how could we forget Dale Hunter’s cheap shot from the 93′ playoffs that earned him a record 21 game suspension (seen here).
Which right there pretty much proves my point. These sets are put together by the NHL to capitalize on hot, up and coming teams. To give bandwagon jumping fans an abbreviated history and generate some cash flow. The NHL cranks out a couple of these a year, and it’s no surprise the other one to come out this year was from the (now Stanley Cup Champion) Chicago Blackhawks. So if you live in Washington and are thinking about becoming a Capitals fan, or have a man crush on one Alexander Ovechkin possibly consider snatching this shit up. No one else in their right mind would willingly choose to sit through this much hockey.
10 games on 10 discs. TWENTY FUCKING HOURS. No special features. Pretty standard turtle shell packaging. English language, Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Sound with vary picture quality depending on the age of the footage. ‘Nuff said.