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Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom get a shout-out in ‘Billions’ season premiere - The Washington Post

Damian Lewis stars as Bobby “Axe” Axelrod in Showtime’s “Billions.” (Showtime)

By Scott Allen

Scott Allen

Reporter covering D.C. pro and local college sports

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March 15 at 12:19 PM

The Capitals are off for a couple of days after Saturday’s showdown with the Eastern Conference-leading Lightning in Tampa, but Washington’s top two scorers scored a mention in the season premiere, set for Sunday, of Showtime’s Wall Street drama “Billions.”

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.)

Breakaway bar down @ovi8 #Capsgiving

— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) November 23, 2017

The scene was written by “Billions” creators David Levien and Brian Koppelman, who grew up on Long Island.

Dave and I wrote that episode and that bit about those players.

— Brian Koppelman (@briankoppelman) March 13, 2019

With an assist from my kids who are big NHL fans!

— David Levien (@DavidLevien) March 14, 2019

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.”

Hey @SHO_Billions, we think a @backstrom19 and @ovi8 cameo is in order for next season, yea? #ALLCAPS

— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 13, 2019

Read more on the Capitals:

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Capitals again show their depth and turn back the Flyers

Jakub Vrana has a bright future with the Capitals. what might it cost?

Capitals’ penalty kill, once a big weakness, seems to be solved