The Capitals are off for a couple of days after Saturday night’s showdown with the NHL-leading Tampa Bay Lightning, but Washington’s top two scorers scored a mention in the season premiere of Showtime’s Wall Street drama “Billions,” set for Sunday.
During a Tuesday appearance on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” “Billions” star Damian Lewis, who plays hedge-fund manager Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, introduces a clip from Sunday’s episode in which his character references Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. The nod to the Stanley Cup champions comes during an intense conversation between Axelrod and trader Bonnie Barella (Sarah Stiles) about their underperforming colleague, Rudy (Chris Carfizzi).
Axelrod: “Do you know why Ovi scores so much? Because Backstrom shares the puck.”
Barella: “Yeah, but when he does, Ovi goes bar down. This lame loses the puck between his legs or airmails it into the God damn glass."
Axelrod: “So I fire him, and he never f---- up again, right, Rudy?”
Rudy: “That’s right, Axe.”
Axelrod: “And you signed your non-compete, didn’t you?”
Rudy: “Of course.”
Axelrod: “Good. Rudy? You’re fired.”
(A “bar-down goal," for the uninitiated, is the hockey term for a shot that deflects off the crossbar before finding the net.)
The scene was written by “Billions” creators David Levien and Brian Koppelman, who grew up on Long Island.
Levien’s kids are big NHL fans. Koppelman is not. During an appearance on Jim Rome’s podcast this week, he used a basketball analogy involving former Bullet Earl “The Pearl” Monroe to describe the state of the relationship between Axelrod and his longtime rival Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) as the fourth season of “Billions” gets underway.
“There was a time when Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier’s biggest rival was Earl ‘The Pearl’ Monroe," Koppelman said. "The Pearl was crushing it down in Baltimore. He was averaging like 30 points a game, and Clyde owned the town in New York. Then there was this huge deal to bring the Pearl into New York, and people were sure it was going to be impossible because Pearl would insist on the basketball. What ended up happening was the two guys ended up working together and won a championship in New York very quickly. The Pearl was willing to sacrifice. Clyde came to appreciate what a great player he was.
“I’m sure there’s a hockey analogy like that, of two bruisers ending up on the same team. Unfortunately I don’t know crap about hockey. You can fill me in on that, or Levien can. The point is, we are not going to tip the hand about what happens, other than to say as we start the season, these two guys are trying their best to go Pearl and Clyde and run the table and win a championship.”
Anyway, it’s refreshing to see the Capitals mentioned in a positive light on a hit TV show for a change. In 2014, FX’s “The Americans” took a (bar-down) shot at the Caps when a character referred to the 1982 team as “the largely untalented hockey club that plays here in Washington.”
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