Sep 23, 2010, 2:38 AM EDT
Are you ready for some uncensored, behind the scenes NHL action? You’d better be because cable network HBO is going to be jumping head-long into the league to produce a documentary series based around the Penguins and Capitals playing in the Winter Classic this winter. Seth Rorabaugh of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette breaks the news on what it will be like.
It will be similar to the popular “Hard Knocks” series, which has documented the training camps of NFL teams over the past decade. This summer, HBO had full access to the New York Jets.
Much like “Hard Knocks,” this NHL series will have players wearing microphones on and off the ice and would offer an uncensored look at the Penguins and Capitals leading up to the New Year’s Day game. A game between the Penguins and Capitals Dec. 23 in Washington is expected to be one of the main focuses.
HBO’s “Hard Knocks” is what gets everyone’s attention for sure as that’s been a huge hit with NFL fans, but Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites clues in on another HBO series that this would more likely play out like.
And while “Hard Knocks” is being mentioned in the Post-Gazette and Puck Daddy stories, I have a feeling this is going to be of the 24/7 series variety. Hard Knocks is co-produced by NFL Films and HBO. And I believe the name is even owned by the NFL and licensed to HBO.
The 24/7 series is owned by HBO and has focused mostly on boxing, but did venture into NASCAR earlier this year with a look at Jimmie Johnson’s preparation for the Daytona 500.
The 24/7 series has won several Emmy Awards over the years and brings a well-known brand name to the NHL. It also gives the league some free marketing for the Winter Classic through HBO.
Call it “Hard Knocks” or “24/7″ or even “Sid and Alex’s Winter Vacation” if you want, we’re sold on this immediately because virtually everything that HBO does that is sports-related is masterfully done. Their work in previous hockey-related productions surrounding the 1980 Miracle On Ice team and the Broad Street Bullies are shining examples of treating hockey stories with both reverence and profound respect while not dumbing things down for everyone watching at home.
The NHL handing the keys off to HBO to produce this documentary series highlighting the two most media-friendly/media-loved teams is a brilliant move to let fans see what guys like Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, and Backstrom are like behind the scenes and off the ice. Getting a more profound view of coaches Bylsma and Boudreau are going to be pleasures to watch. Getting a closer view as to what goes on into putting on a huge event like the Winter Classic will be fascinating.
The only question left is: Will die-hard fans eat it up or will they turn their backs on seeing two media darling teams continue to get more of the spotlight? While we expect there will be plenty of loud grumbling about that, when you’re dealing with two superstars like Crosby and Ovechkin, accepting that they’re going to be the most featured guys in the spotlight is all part of the game. It’s not as if they haven’t earned it after all.
- Kane, Toews may have toughest assignment yet in Hedman, Stralman 9
- Chicago mayor rips Lightning for being ‘afraid’ to sell tickets to Blackhawks fans 58
- PHT’s Stanley Cup Final picks, once again featuring The Coin 19
- Habs sign Petry to a six-year, $33 million extension 23
- ‘Home-grown talent’ a staple of Blackhawks and Lightning 7
- A holdover from the ‘dark days,’ does Sharp have a future in Chicago? 76
- Bishop: ‘Taller guys…can be just as athletic as the smaller guys’ 6
- Tire pump? Yzerman says Toews is ‘bigger, stronger, better’ than he was 25
- Devils officially announce John Hynes, becomes youngest NHL coach 12
- PHT arrives in Tampa, gets soaked (oh, and today is Media Day) 6
- ‘Hawks rise to occasion in Game 7, head to SCF for third time in six years (95)
- Poll: Should the Ducks fire Boudreau? (87)
- Bolts strike Stanley Cup Final berth thanks to Game 7 win over Rangers (76)
- A holdover from the ‘dark days,’ does Sharp have a future in Chicago? (76)
- Is it fair to hold cap teams to old dynasty standards? (74)