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Five standouts from HBO 24/7 Flyers/Rangers episode two

Dec 21, 2011, 11:35 PM EDT

Peter Laviolette AP

The second episode of “HBO 24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the Winter Classic” began with Henrik Lundqvist jamming with … John McEnroe. That was a pretty stunning opening, yet an hour later, it barely reverberates compared to the rest of the content. Here are five things that stood out the most from the second hour of the network’s fascinating documentary series.

1. The Kids

Children dominated episode two, covering every end of the spectrum.

On the adorable side, Dan Girardi‘s (year and a half old) son Landon rocked his little toy guitar but couldn’t quite connect on his father’s one-timer passes when cameras were on. Danny Briere‘s considerably older boys interacted with Sean Couturier, who is upholding the time-honored tradition of living with an older player as a rookie. Briere’s kids trolled Couturier while they played hockey video games and clearly reveled in his presence.

The most heartwarming moment featured the softer side of John Tortorella, who regularly exchanges text messages with Liam, a boy who with cerebral palsy. His reaction to the New York Rangers’ jaw-dropping last-tenth-of-a-second win against the Phoenix Coyotes added some gravity to that moment.

2. Good Torts/Bad Torts

That interchange with Liam gave Tortorella some valuable dimension, because the other footage features a starling, profane taskmaster. (Some believe that his intensity will eventually burn the team out, which is a stance you’re welcome to debate in the comments.)

source: Getty Images3. Peter Laviolette: “Montreal typical” and officials

Peter Laviolette was inflamed when Jaromir Jagr didn’t draw a penalty, going as far as to accuse officials of playing to the crowd in Montreal. If you see someone react to a Habs-friendly call with “It’s Montreal typical,” then you’ll know where that little meme came from. (Laviolette just seems to rub his hosts the wrong way, as you can see from this altercation with Steve Ott.

The officials made a big impact on the show, in general. One basically admitted to making a bad call, there was a great moment in the referees’ locker room and well-placed recording equipment caught some fascinating behind-the-scenes bits.

4. Injuries

From Steve Eminger‘s separated shoulder to Chris Pronger‘s season-ending injury and Couturier taking a puck to the head, those pull-back-the-curtain moments were awfully interesting. The most telling footage centered on Claude Giroux‘s recovery from a concussion. Cameras caught trainers working with Giroux and a doctor running baseline tests that one could imagine being administered when a cop pulls over a drunk driver.

Giroux’s four-point night showed that he must be feeling OK, although time will tell.

5. Ilya Bryzgalov, again

The Flyers certainly caught the first episode of 24/7, because they really let Ilya Bryzgalov have it during a team breakfast. One player gave him the greeting of “Hey, Universe” (which must be his nickname from now on). Jaromir Jagr teased him and even changed tables on Breezy.

Even with reduced screen time, Bryzgalov provided another priceless gem. The Russian goalie stupefied audiences by saying that his blue-eyed husky is “basically like a hot girl.”

Moments like those make us all a little sad that there are only two episodes left.

  1. areyesrn - Dec 22, 2011 at 12:38 AM

    thank goodness Bryz is on the Flyers…LOL

  2. pastabelly - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:35 AM

    Well, Laviolette is right about what goes on in Montreal. Can’t say that I’m not enjoying their awful first half of the season. Missed the show last night. I’ll have to catch it tonight.

  3. dropthepuckeh - Dec 22, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    I am definitely loving the show – seeing the refs discuss things and hearing the chatter from the ice is priceless. I was a little disappointed as Bruins fan that more footage was not included from Philly’s blowout loss at home on Saturday. It would have been interesting to see Laviollette after the first period with his team already getting blown out, or what about Hartnell’s mic? He had a good bout with Boychuck and there was obviously a lot of bad blood flowing there.

    Pretty cool to see the team charter – Ranger’s plane looks ridiculous!

  4. xxshookonexx - Dec 22, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    Disappointed there wasn’t more audio from the Bruins game. Almost glossed over compared to the Phoenix game

  5. jpelle82 - Dec 22, 2011 at 10:48 AM

    soooo glad he called out an official in the bell center. needed to be said, all though we all know it goes on. great.

  6. mtm1321 - Dec 22, 2011 at 11:01 AM

    I love Tort and his intensity, it can lead to burn out if his guys lose their hunger. But playing in NY has it’s own intensity and I think Tort is just. Using that to lead his boys.
    After just one episode I love the show, especially because the NY Rangers are in it. Living on the west coast in SoCal this show is like a much needed drug for me, I miss hockey, especially east coast NHL teams.
    I think HBO and the NHL should do a season long show much like the NFL and HBO do for their teams.

    • dougr42 - Dec 22, 2011 at 1:42 PM

      do you think it’d be worth it to disrupt a team that much? its A LOT longer season than the NFL.

      • mtm1321 - Dec 22, 2011 at 2:58 PM

        But the NHL sure could use the coverage. They have fallen so far behind the other big 3 in popularity that I believe they have to make some sacrifices. Besides after a while the cameras just become part of the landscape.

  7. dougr42 - Dec 22, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    I can’t believe they didn’t show more of the Bruins game. Especially with Hartnell mic’d. Everyone knows how much he chirps on the ice. And there wasn’t a single frame of Rinaldo going ape-shit on Lucic after he got boarded.

    I’m going to be really upset if the bit of Hartnell we got in this episode is all we see of him. He’s such a huge personality, not just on the Flyers, but in the whole league. There must be some TV gold in there somewhere. MORE HARTNELL!!!

  8. imleftcoast - Dec 24, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    It was overall just a great episode, and your recap is spot on. The scenes with Liam were really moving, and watching him watch the game just reminds you of why you love hockey. The scene in the ref’s room gave me a better understanding, although the scene with the ref admitting the bad call just bothered me. There was just no penalty or reason for a call.

    I loved Simmonds calling Lucic out for the hit from behind. Lucic’s complete unwillingness to ever answer for the cheap shots is crossing into lack of respect for other players’ safety. He deserved more than a game after two-three warnings this season alone. He’s showing a complete lack of respect out there, and he is going to pay soon.

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