No time to waste.
Let’s dive in to the second episode of HBO’s brilliant Winter Classic Preview 24/7: Flyers/Rangers
-Going into this series, I expected Henrik Lundquist to be the biggest star. He’s the Rangers best player and, let’s face it, Henrik is a handsome man. His little guitar jam session with John McEnroe in Manhattan seemed like a chance to learn more about him as a person and let him step forward as a star. I’m pretty sure that’s what HBO was thinking when they followed him there. But, maybe Lundquist is just a pretty face. He hasn’t really stepped up into spotlight the way I expected he would.
-Dan Girardi’s 1 and half year old son, however, could be a star. The kid’s already got a legitimate wrist shot. Yes, it’s inside an apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, but still, impressive.
-Give the producers credit for allowing for a meta moment with the Flyers. All of Ilya Bryzgalov’s teammates mock him for his wackadoo comments about the universe and Russian tigers in the first episode of 24/7.
-I’m continually surprised by the fact that NHL players have roommates on the road. I’m pretty sure players in the other major sports all get their own hotel rooms. It works out well for Rangers forward Brian Boyle, though. His roommate, Brandon Prust helps him wake up and get dressed before the team heads to road games.
-This episode of 24/7 was very coaching-centric. I think Peter Laviolette and John Tortorella were the real stars. And in watching them, you really get to see two different philosophies. Tortorella is a task master type, who is the unquestioned man in charge of his locker room. Laviolette, on the other hand, seems like more of a players coach. He allows his veteran players to speak up in the locker room and gets on the refs when he thinks his team is getting jobbed because they’re playing in Montreal
-Just when you think Tortorella doesn’t have a soft side, though, we meet 10 year old Liam Traynor. Torts is in almost constant contact with the boy, who suffers from Cerebral Palsy and underwent hip surgery this summer. Talking about Liam is possibly the only time I’ve ever seen the Rangers coach smile broadly.
-Nice moment between Laviolette and Scott Hartnall. The coach congratulates his player on scoring his 200th career goal, then admits he never scored a single NHL point in a total of 12 career games.
-Its also worth noting that Laviolette seems to be getting fat. I discussed that with SCP reader BShrek on Sunday. Both of us noticed it independently of the other.
-The other highlight of this episode was the closer look we got at the refs. We heard them discussing calls, admitting mistakes and warning players on the ice not to go too far. I especially enjoyed the discussion during the Rangers/Coyotes game when they discussed Rafi Torres attacking Mike Rupp for what everyone agreed was a clean hit by the Rangers forward on one of Torres’s Phoenix teammates. I would have liked to see a shot of the league offices in Toronto watching the replays of the goal that ultimately ended that game, though. I suppose HBO can’t have cameras everywhere.