Winter Classic 2012: 8 Things We Learned from HBO's 24/7

Andrew EideCorrespondent IDecember 30, 2011

Winter Classic 2012: 8 Things We Learned from HBO's 24/7

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    HBO’s 24/7 has been excellent this year and has peeled back the cover from the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers.

    Both teams are two of the higher profile franchises in the NHL. For fans of other teams, we now know more about these two teams than we ever did before.

    The show helped display some of the personalities of the players we will all be watching during the Winter Classic on January 2nd.

    Here are the top eight things we learned from the show.

You Should Not Kill Tigers in China

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    The breakout star of 24/7 is without a doubt Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. From waxing poetically on the universe to warning people not to kill tigers in China, he has shown that the old saying about goalies being a bit off is very true.

    It makes you feel bad for cursing him out after letting in a soft goal, almost. 

    The NHL Network needs to work on an Ilya Bryzgalov reality series as soon as possible. The ratings would be great and the show would be classic.

Henrik Lundqvist Is A Les Paul Man

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    In the series' second episode the cameras followed the Rangers goalie around and caught him jamming on guitar with tennis legend John McEnroe.

    Lundqvist was sporting a classic Les Paul guitar and appeared to be able to handle himself well with it. Lundqvist seems to be the opposite end of the spectrum from Bryzgalov.  

    He dresses like James Bond, drives a nice car, jams with tennis players and always seems calm and in control.  

    Maybe we need a Lundqvist-Bryzgalov odd couple remix.

John Tortorella and Peter Laviolette have similar styles.

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    Last season’s 24/7 brought us glimpses of the contrasting coaching styles of Dan Bylsma and Bruce Boudreau. One was tactful and direct, the other was emotional and ketchup stained. 

    This season both coaches appear chipped off the same block.  

    Both are intense motivators, know what they want and yet show that they truly care about their players.

    Will they raise their voices and curse? Yes, but it’s clear they do it out of passion for the game that is dripping off of everything they say. 

    The respect their players give them is apparent. You would be happy to have either of these guys coaching your favorite team.


Concussions Are Serious Business

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    Head injuries and concussions are a pretty hot button topic in the NHL these days and the 24/7 cameras were able to capture it really well. 

    With Flyers star player Claude Giroux having to miss games we got to see how cautious teams are with head injuries. Giroux was seen going through several assessment tests. 

    We even saw him question how ready he was in practice by dismissing praises from his coach, saying he was unsure about how he would do in a game.

    It's powerful stuff to see a highly skilled player question himself.

Dinner on the Road Can Be Costly

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    In the first episode of the series several Rangers were out to eat in Buffalo. When the bill came they all threw their credit cards in a hat and pulled them out one by one. 

    The guy whose card was the last one in the hat was forced to pick up the tab. 

    Good thing for the Rangers Dustin Byfuglien plays for Winnipeg.

Peter Laviolette Is Not Fond of French Canadian Refs

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    One of the more amusing moments in the series came when Laviolette was angry with a non-call in Montreal. The ref who chose not to call a tripping penalty happened to be a French Canadian. 

    This seemed to set Laviolette off even more as he kept yelling “typical Montreal” over and over. 

    This will make their next game in Montreal interesting to watch.

Being the Video Goal Official Would Be A Cool Job

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    In the third episode there was a disputed goal in one game and the refs went to the phone to call Toronto to have the goal reviewed. 

    HBO had cameras in the video review room in Toronto. The room consisted of giant flat screen televisions, each showing the nights games. 

    Just think, even if the home crowd doesn't like your call, you are safe in a room in Toronto. The on-ice officials have to deal with the wrath. No skin off your nose. 

    Who wouldn’t want to get paid to do that?

NHL Trash Talk Is Great

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    The show gets microphones on players during games and we get to hear what goes on between guys on the ice. How many times have you wondered what they are saying to each other on the ice? 

    Now we know, and it is pretty entertaining. 

    It’s also not for the faint of heart. NHL players are pretty direct with each other on the ice and pull no punches.  

    One of the highlights was Scott Hartnell calling Matt Cooke “the dirtiest player in the league.” 

    How many of us haven’t thought that?