When the best of sports collides with the best of television, you are left with what we witnessed tonight on HBO. So, without further ado, the final Minutes of 24/7: Flyers-Rangers: Road to the NHL Winter Classic.
Again, all times are approximate…
10:03- I don’t know about you, but it was absolutely heartbreaking for me to see Ilya Bryzgalov so angry and upset. It would be how I imagine young lads feel when they find out Santa doesn’t really exist. I just wanted him to stop cursing and being so sarcastic. You’re supposed to make me laugh and smile, goddamn it!
10:06- I’m as big a Sean Avery supporter as anyone, but wearing those pseudo-sunglasses indoors really does make him seem like a douche. I obviously have no idea what he’s like behind closed doors (well, I guess we do now, actually), but he doesn’t seem to bring much to the locker room. I don’t agree with Torts’ treatment of him, but I do get it now.
10:11- For those of us who have ever had a bad moment at work where you utterly screw up, and you know you did, and so does your boss, and he makes it clear he knows, well, you had to sympathize with the Rangers video guy Jerry Dineen when the projector burned out during Torts’ rip session of the team.
Torts was already in a pissy, yet happy mood, as you could see he was enjoying going around the room criticizing every player who effed up in the Capitals game. Much needed comic relief was delivered when a member of the coaching staff began singing, “Jerry’s in a pile of shit doo-dah, dooh-dah…”
That’s the thing about Torts. I don’t think he’s a great motivator because he endears himself to his players, but rather that he is so miserable when he’s pissed that you just don’t want to fuck up because it’s not worth getting yelled at.
10:16- When the Flyers-Pens game first started, I felt like I was rooting for the Penguins (I knew what happened in the game, of course…you know what I mean…), but then they showed all the quasi-hicks in the stands, and I remembered these people are Steelers fans. What a terrible state. (Note: I can’t even say Penn State is its lone redeeming quality anymore. It now has NOTHING.)
10:18- I don’t know who said it—maybe Chris Kunitz?—but I enjoyed Hartnell being called the “ugliest guy in the league,” followed by the Flyers bench telling him he looks nice. See, we’re all a little sensitive!
10:22- “Right in my fuckin’ penis!” – Max Talbot, reacting to getting speared in the groin.
10:24- The Rangers have come a long way from the days of Dan Girardi watching patiently as Marian Gaborik got his ass kicked by Daniel Carcillo. Prust felt so guilty he wasn’t the one to pummel Tomas Kopecky that he had to justify his inaction when he returned to the bench. I also like Del Zaster asking “who stepped in for me?”
10:27- The scene where Callahan and Co. were fucking with Staal as he slept on the plane would NEVER happen on a flight with a basketball team or the New York Jets. They would all sit there with their headphones that are bigger than hockey helmets, staring straight ahead, slowly nodding their heads to their music. Or they would play cards and whip out guns and threaten to kill each other (see: Washington Wizards). One or the other.
10:30: OK. That guy just poked a HOLE in Wayne Simmonds’ FINGERNAIL. OK.
10:34- Brandon Dubinsky’s grandpa was TANKED on New Year’s Eve. What did he say to the cameras? “Break up?” What the hell does that mean? He wants his grandson to break up with his smokin’ hot fiancee whom he greatly overachieved with in the first place? Or did he say something else? Either way, I’ve never seen an old dude so intoxicated. Good for him.
10:36- Bryzgalov tries to make a joke about him not starting to the reporters (good news: I no play, better news: we have chance to win), and has an ear-to-ear grin as he looks back and forth for someone to laugh, but no one responds. Poor guy. Too bad he’s on the Flyers. I’d buy his jersey in a heartbeat.
10:42: Prior to faceoff in the Winter Classic, Torts asks Rupp for advice on winning the game. Rupp, clearly a bit thrown off he’s being asked for words of motivation, mumbles, “Ya gotta get a lead. It’s tough coming from behind…” WOAH! Easy there, Heart and Soul! We can’t even comprehend what you REALLY mean. Please enlighten us great Rupper!
10:45- The pre-game shots of the rink are absolutely beautiful. What a visually pleasing event. Year after year it gets better and better.
DATELINE GARDEN FAITHFUL
At 10:49 and 43 seconds, in a black coat, sidled along the walls of the corridor leading to the home dugout, Brendan Shanahan is spotted clandestinely whispering words of encouragement to the Flyers.
THAT MY FRIENDS IS EVIDENCE. THE FIX WAS IN. If you slow down the video to a frame-by-frame sequence, you see him mouthing, “If you blow this lead, we will get you to a shootout.” No, you can’t actually see that, but really, what was he doing there and what was he saying? I thought you were one of us, Shanny! (H/T: GJK)
10:52- Giroux is such a punk. He thought he was so fuckin’ tough challenging the Rangers to fights at the start of the third period. He would never dare drop his gloves with anyone on the Rangers. And if you listen carefully, the player he picks to fight is Carl Hagelin, the skinniest player on the team. If Zukes was there he may have actually dropped his gloves. (NOTE: Giroux has two career fighting majors. In one he got his ass kicked by Nick Foligno, in the other he fought Marek Svatos is who is about 5-8, 170 pounds. He lost that one, too.)
10:55- I enjoy Brad Richards’ goal and celebration more and more everytime I see it.
10:56- As the final buzzer sounds and Ryan McDonagh gets into a scrum with Hartnell, it hits me that McD was the only player on the team whose voice you did not hear in the four episodes. You even get some Woywitka! What the fuck?!
10:57- Another killer music selection by HBO, choosing Sigur Rós’ “Festival” as the song to finish the show. For those who liked the tune, listen to their leader singer, Jónsi, and his album “Go.” He’s openly gay, blind in his right eye, and makes beautiful music. Fascinating character.
10:58- For the first time I ever, I really liked Del Zaster when he gave the smile of, “What the fuck?” when a stumbling, fat Jim Dolan comes into the locker room after the win and says, “I’m very proud of our…wait, what sport is this? Right…hockey club.”
10:58- For me the locker room reactions after the game were the two teams in a nutshell. The Flyers: quiet, tight, boring. The Rangers: happy, talking, entertaining. It makes sense, though. The Flyers live in Philadelphia. The Rangers live in New York City. They never had a chance.
10:59- Whoever wrote the script for the final sequence of the episode, well, that person is brilliant.
“Never get caught telling a hockey player it’s just a game. Never get caught trying to explain to him all the things in the world that matter so much more. His mind might well acknowledge the truth to your point, but his soul would be powerless to accept it…
“Considering the immensity of what he gives to the sport. The immeasurability of all it offers in return…
“This is why it’s so unforgettable when absolute passion yields ultimate reward.”
That’s it right there.
A magical end to a magical show, with a magical team on a magical run.