Road to the Winter Classic: Best of Episode 4

The Washington Capitals have come a long way in recent years from barely able to sell a section to selling out a baseball field. And they have Alex Ovechkin and owner Ted Leonsis to thanks.

Spoiler alert: The Washington Capitals win.

Yes, the fourth and final installment of Road to the Winter Classic always tends to lack some of the suspension and intrigue of the first three, because fans who are into this kinda thing typically watch the Classic live and are well aware of the outcome.

Thus, it’s more about how the game is filmed, which players are mic’d up, and how the spectacle is captured from a panoply of high-definition lenses and exclusive angles.

In that respect, Episode 4 makes good. As viewers, we’re given great feel for the competition, the range of emotions, and that blinding glare that the players (save one) had to skate through in the first period.

Here are 13 things we learned from the final episode of Epix’s Road to the Winter Classic.

Stream Episode 4 of Road to the Winter Classic on the SN Now app. MORE: 2015 Winter Classic Full Recap

1. The Capitals are getting savvy with this social media thing.
Washington tapped roomies Tom Wilson and Michael Latta (a.k.a. Willy and Lats) to live-tweet the show’s finale from the team account. A smart and fun second-screen experience for the club’s fans, who got to ask the young duo questions during the show. (To be fair, Chicago’s players were busy losing to the Avalanche Tuesday night.)

2. Coach Quenneville’s f-bombs are equally plentiful when he’s happy as when he’s ticked off.
Giddy after the Hawks’ “big win” over the division rival Nashville Predators early in the episode, Q — all smiles and back slaps — drops six words worth censoring in a span of about 10 seconds as he congratulates his staff.

3. Alex Ovechkin is greying quite a bit for a man under 30.
We notice the salt level is starting to rival the pepper count in the superstar’s mane as he walks to the Nationals Park early on New Year’s Day. (Also, he’s a Beats by Dre guy.)

4. Quenneville’s nickname for Bryan Bickell? “The Picklehead.”
Beats the heck out of “Bicks” or “Bickie.”

5. Joel Ward loves La-Z-Boys.
After checking into the Nationals clubhouse, the Capitals forward slides right into a big, brown leather chair — one of the luxuries ball players are afforded at home.

“What a sport,” Ward says, with a touch of envy. “This is not bad.”


6. The Laichs bought Julianne Hough new skates for Christmas.
Brooks Laich, who is dating the Dancing with the Stars judge, tours the outdoor rink with his catch during the Capitals’ family skate on Dec. 31.

7. The mutual respect between the Blackhawks and the Wounded Warriors is palpable.
Chicago makes fantastic use of its Dec. 31 ice time by scrimmaging with the injured war vets. We learn it’s not the first time the two outfits have played 20-on-20.
(Fox photo)

8. Foreshadowing never fails.
Troy Brouwer’s father, Don, suffered a stroke four years ago, making it difficult to attend his son’s games.

We watch Troy greet his parents at the airport knowing full well that a day later Brouwer will end up scoring the game-winning goal with just 12 seconds left in regulation.


“This is so cool,” Don says, not knowing it’s about to get even cooler. “Every dad’s dream, eh?”

9. Jonathan Toews decided to play despite some of his teammates not being able to see.
Anyone who watched the Winter Classic will recall how sunny it was. Without a cloud in the sky, the sun hammered the white sheet during the first period, and we’re given an up-close glimpse into the captains’ debate of whether to play or delay.

“I don’t want to go back in [to the clubhouse] and come back out for warm-ups. That’s a pain in the ass,” Toews says. “Let’s go.”

10. Sometimes the best trash talk is cuss-free.
Andrew Shaw to Latta, who tries to mix things up in the first period after Tom Wilson takes a penalty: “Hey, Latta. We all know you can’t play hockey, so that’s why you’re running around, eh. You’re the man.”

11. Both captains are more than a little vocal with the referees.
Ovechkin and Toews take turns getting animated with the referees — who made a couple of debatable calls. Especially soft was the makeup call given to Toews, which led to Brouwer’s power-play winner.

“I lifted his stick!” protests Toews. “That’s the worst f—– call I’ve ever seen!”

12. Quenneville is awesome in the handshake line.
The exchange when Q passes Brouwer, a former Blackhawk traded to D.C. in 2011.

Quenneville: “Did you get that goal, Brouw?”

Brouwer: “Yeah.”

Quenneville: “F— off.” [Laughs manically.]

13. The Capitals celebrate with 40-ouncers of Olde English!
Delicious! Malty! And the last third of the bottle is way too warm to enjoy!

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