Finally. After a year of waiting, 24/7 Road to the Winter Classic has arrived. Pens and Caps fans and the rest of the world watched unprecedented access into the NHL. We watched the day to day functions of running a team, how the team interacts and bonds with one another, how their families are affected and what exactly is going on on the ice.
Tonight’s episode proved how fantastic this series is. It doesn’t matter what teams you are watching. Liev Schrieber is the perfect voice for this show. His tone and the way he articulates draw you in. The script writers for the narration, especially the prologue are phenomenal. Adding an almost literary element to the sport enhances the beauty of the game.
What made this particular show more enjoyable to watch than Pens vs Caps I think was the fact that as a fan, there was no emotional investment. Additionally, the Pens are very good at giving fans access to the players, so we already know the personalities and how the Pens run for the most part. Learning the personalities of players that we have seriously preconceived notions about based on how they act on the ice and watching them interact with their teammates, coaches, opposing teams and refs helps raise your level of respect for them. Even when the teams are among your most fierce rivals.
**Updated with Spoilers** (Hope you all have watched by now! If not, maybe this all will convince you to!)
Here are some moments of note:
- Watching Claude Giroux get a concussion and seeing the actual process for ImPACT testing. (Get well soon Giroux).
- Getting into the mind of Ilya Bryzgalov. He owned this show. Inside and out. Goalies are quirky individuals and Bryz is no exception!
- Watching John Tortorella coach on the bench and hearing his commentary. Fantastic coach. He is honest with his team and wasn’t over the top like Bruce Boudreau. He is very to the point.
- Artem Anisimov taking a pretty unfair penalty and the aftermath. He celebrated a goal by shooting his stick like a rifle. Vinnie LeCavalier didn’t take it too well, nor did the rest of the Lightning. Brawl after the goal. Anisimov took a 16 minute penalty total. Tort’s locker room speech at intermission was unreal. (This is the play that resulted in Steve Downie’s fine.) Anisimov apologized to his team following the game for his antics.
- Max Talbot’s first interaction with Dan Bylsma in a Flyers sweater. Bylsma told him “Goal scorer now?” We love you, Disco.
- Jaromir Jagr explaining his decision somewhat. He went where his heart was…which is odd because he said his heart was in Pittsburgh. Money=Heart.
- Ryan Callahan’s family was interviewed and I think everyone who formally hated Ryan Callahan now likes him. Showed a seriously disgusting goal by Callahan in slow-motion high def. Incredible.
- Every female hockey fan who wasn’t fawning over Henrik Lundqvist, well that’s been rectified.
- If you didn’t already hate Scott Hartnell, you will now. If you did hate him, that fury just increased exponentially. He told Matt Cooke he was the “dirtiest player in the league.”
- Wayne Simmonds getting acclimated to his new home and working with some local hockey kids was refreshing to see. He is really making the best of his move and immersing himself into the city of Philadelphia to do some good for the community.
- Remember the Capital’s “”win” celebration song? Wait until you hear what the Flyers chose.
- Some other music in the actual soundtrack included Blink 182 “Fighting the Gravity” and Thrice “Yellow Belly.” Completely solid choices. Last year and this year HBO has not disappointed on amazing music. Last year they used Cold War Kids. Amazing pick.
- Seriously, the Russian players are amazing personalities. Give them all their own show together.
I cannot wait for episode #2. I understand that many Pens fans have zero interest in this season of 24/7 but I think everyone who did watch will agree that you must reconsider. It isn’t about how you feel about the teams, but what this show brings to the game of hockey. I think because I am able to watch without so much bias this season, the show is more enjoyable.
I have the Pens/Caps 24/7 on DVD. It is great tv. This show is just phenomenal as far as documentaries are concerned. Have an open mind and just watch. You won’t regret it. No matter how badly you may despise the Flyers and/or Rangers, this is something you need to see as a hockey fan.
Or just watch for Bryz…