Hit T.V. show 'Billions' forces Washington Capitals reference


It seems hockey is managing to weave itself into the storylines of certain television programs with a higher cadence these days. Whether its peoples’ obsessions with Chicago-based dramas giving the Blackhawks some shine, the Bruins being presented as an alternative to the Red Sox in certain Boston-area locations, or the Minnesota Golden Gophers referenced on several occasions in a show like ‘Fargo,’ hockey is a common tool producers use to contextualize the situations and cities where their shows are located.

Showtime’s ‘Billions’ has become the latest show to reference the sport and its superstars. They used — or forced — the long-time partnership between Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom as a metaphor to explain the seemingly deteriorating relationship between two co-workers.

Here’s the clip, at approximately 7:24:

So, there’s nothing really wrong with this reference, I guess.

Ovechkin is obviously a legendary scorer and isn’t “a lame” — they’re right. And Backstrom is potentially a Hall of Famer in part for his play-making ability and penchant for spotting Ovechkin. If we’re nit-picking, maybe the dialogue suggests that Backstrom has had more to do with Ovechkin’s success than he deserves, but there’s no denying that the two have formed a lethal combination for the better part of the last decade.

Still, the discourse is way too specific and awkward, and comes across as completely disingenuous. It’s like they’re hammering away at hockey-specific cues to make sure that viewers actually know what sport they’re talking about.

Anyway, it’s not the first time that hockey has been referenced by the show’s creators, as pointed out by Capitals blog Russian Machine Never Breaks.

In this completely unrealistic scene, the show’s main character — Bobby Axelrod, a billionaire hedge fund manager — drops by Islanders practice and engages in a discussion with an older Russian man and apparent ex-convict that’s practicing with the Islanders while toying with the idea of buying the team.

Most hilariously, he only steps off the ice to speak with Axelrod after absolutely laying out an Islander player along the boards.

The show’s creators are apparently hockey fans from Long Island. So that explains the references, but not their apparent inability to effortlessly write the sport into the script.

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