I’d be lying if I said last week’s 24/7 was a significant impetus behind the forum’s birth earlier this afternoon. It’s a typically brilliant HBO Sports production, that truly helps you understand the lives of NHL players.
Accordingly, here is a(n) (approximate) minute-by-minute breakdown of the show.
10:02- Sweet baby Jesus.
When Henrik came on screen I felt the emotion little girls must have felt in 1965 when The Beatles came to America. I just wanted to start screaming and grasping for the TV, and subsequently almost passed out.
On top of his remarkable, almost creepy beauty, is his fashion sense. Don’t you get the feeling the man goes to sleep in a tuxedo? A really nice one, too. And to top it off he knows how to play a guitar. So let’s tally this up here: He’s beautiful, 29-years old, knows how to play the guitar, is well-dressed and well-spoken, is a multi-millionaire, and plays goalie for the New York Rangers. I’m sure his wife is a super cool girl, but I could NEVER imagine a professional athlete getting married with that kind of resume. Just get them a limo, sign a hockey stick and puck and they’ll be on their way, right? Isn’t that what people do now?
And if all of that wasn’t enough, he’s rehearsing the Foo Fighters’ “My Hero” with John McEnroe! Seriously. No one person should be so lucky. I know the whole “You Don’t Know What He’s Like Behind Close Doors!” argument. Nah, I have a pretty good idea, and I’m pretty sure I’d love to be him.
(NOTE: I’m a heterosexual male. I swear.)
10:07- Did anyone have any idea Dan Girardi is married with a son? I was blindsided by this. But yeah, his son is super cute. Good for Dan.
10:12 (and throughout the episode)- Even after downing John Branch’s sensational, best-sportswriting-I’ve-ever-read concussion series (Google it) about Derek Boogaard, I don’t think I fully understood how dangerous and damaging concussions can be. That is, until now. Watching the Flyers on 24/7 has made me realize the traumatic effects concussions have on the human brain.
The whole team is a bunch of mutes. Can any of them string together sentences of more than six words? Other than Bryzgalov who may be my favorite player on any team in any sport, they all are lobotomized (well, not yet at least) trolls. I know he’s going to torment Rangers fans for years to come, but Claude Giroux may be the least articulate person I’ve ever heard “speak,” that is when he actually makes his voice audible. Wayne Simmonds is downright garrulous compared to his teammates. I know they have a bunch of awkward teenagers on the team but seriously, boys, speak up!
10:15- Ew. Did anyone else Tortorella’s deformed right thumbnail? Yes, I notice these things. Fungus!
10:16- Torts cites Del Zotto (does Scotty Hockey have a copyright on Del Zaster? I want it) as the team’s best defenseman in the Dallas game. The camera pans to a stoic Del Zotto who is clearly in cardiac shock from the compliment. There’s a chance he was clinically dead in that shot.
10:18- Did you ever wonder what role a captain plays in an NHL locker room? Well, we found out tonight!
Torts is unsure of what time the team bus should leave, so he asks Callahan, who promptly responds, “4.”
Attaboy, Cally! Gotta make sure the boys have time to shower! A true leader!
10:18- I take it all back. I think it’s better none of the Flyers speak.
Zac Rinaldo, the Flyers 21-year old enforcer who is certifiably insane on the ice and leads the NHL with 108 penalty minutes, speaks like an adolescent girl. This is a verbatim account of his thoughts on being a young player in, like, the NHL.
“When you have a good game, and you have like 3 or 4 consecutive like really good games, you kinda like, your confidence builds up, and you’re like, ‘OK, I’ll think, I’ll be sticking here for a while,’ but then when you have a bad game, it’s like, ‘Oh, I might get sent down.’ So it’s like a rollercoaster of emotions. And then like I look at my teammates and I see how cute they all are, and I like think, ‘Oh. No. I like left my camera in my bag at home.’ And like I’m wearing my cutest shirt so like no one is going to know I was like making a fashion statement. And just, ugh, (eyes tear up), ITJUSTMAKESMESOFRIGGINMAD! …Get the cameras away!”
OK. Everything after “rollercoaster of emotions” was made up but you get the point. There’s little difference in the speech patterns of the NHL’s biggest goon and a 14-year old girl.
10:20- Bryzgalov compares his husky dog to a hot blonde girl with blue eyes. See, I don’t know why my girlfriend gets upset when I tell her she looks like a dog! Bryzgalov TOTALLY gets it!
10:22- Boyle and Prust wake up from their midday naps and the former confesses to being bare-ass naked and then complains that he doesn’t know what to wear. If this was a Flyers forum I could see Boyle being chided a bit.
10:25- Torts RIPS into the team after a lackluster first period in St. Louis. One player is so scared he covers his face with a towel.
My favorite part of this scene is assistant head coach Mike Sullivan, an imposing, terrifying figure in his own right, standing in the corner, not blinking an eye. Can’t you see Torts leaving the locker room, nodding his head to Sullivan on the way out, Sullivan obediently nodding his head back, taking off his belt and just starting to whip each player who had a minus in his statline during the period. No yelling or cursing. Just relentless whipping.
I demand HBO release deleted scenes!
10:30- After the Flyers get jobbed by the pro-French Canada refs in Montreal, head coach Peter Laviolette walks into the video room with the most dramatic, frightening music you will ever hear playing in the background. Go back and take a listen. With the camera trailing his big, imposing figure, coupled with the darkness of the shot, and the two unsuspecting henchmen sitting, watching TV, I was ready for Lavvy to stab them both and then lick the blood off the knife, and whisper, “I love Frog blood.”
Needless to say that did not happen.
10:35- The heartwearming relationship between Torts and a 10-year old Ranger fanatic who suffers from cerebral palsy is revealed. It’s shocking to see Torts actually has a soul. Ten bucks says Liam is on the ice the night they award the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award. He deserves it.
10:39- OK. I don’t know which Flyer makes the awkward “Flavor of the Month…It’s what everybody wants for Christmas this year I guess…I hope I don’t get one from Santa Claus” comment to Giroux (who is predictably texting because he’s a mute), but he should be put away. His voice is terrifying. Even the emotionless Giroux is alarmed by his initial comment.
10:43- Danny Briere’s kids look exactly like him. Poor kids.
(NOTE: I did enjoy that he had one of the mute rookies living in his home with him. That’s a great hockey tradition. Like Crosby living in Lemieux’s home his rookie season. In no other sport does that happen. I love it…Please no Penn State jokes! I’m not ready yet!)
10:48- HBO does a great job of building up the tension in the Coyotes game, showing the nasty injuries the Rangers suffer and how they came back, but to play Flo Rida’s “Good Feeling” as the refs announce Richards’ buzzer-beater was a serious buzzkill. Less is more sometimes, ya know? I wanted to hear the players’ reactions. Not some dumbass pop song.
10:50- I love The Broadway Hat. Every great team needs something like that. It fits perfectly. If the Rangers go far in the playoffs I propose all fans receive a Broadway Hat instead of a towel. Plus, if everyone wears them it’ll look like a 1950’s NHL game with all the fans in top hats. Someone make this happen!
10:52- Great to see the players smiling at the chanting Rangers fans who made the trip/live in Phoenix. THEY REALLY DO LIKE US!
10:54- Hah! Bruins 6, Flyers 0. Fantastic.
10:57- An absolutely killer end to the episode, with the Rangers boarding the plane, Liev Schreiber waxing poetic, and M83’s “Midnight City” playing in the background (hat tip to TGF writer Jamie Lundmark).
Three Final Observations: 1) I wanted more Avery, got none, 2) No mention of Richards being benched in St. Louis, lame, and 3) If you time it out, the Rangers are on the screen significantly more than the Flyers. I’d say nearly 60-40 Rangers. Not because they’re SO interesting. It’s just that they can actually speak.