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HBO hits the high points in engrossing 24/7 finale

Jan 5, 2012, 11:58 PM EDT

2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - New York Rangers v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

If the reception for last week’s episode of “HBO 24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the Winter Classic”was relatively underwhelming, then the finale received rave reviews. To be honest, the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers produced so many storylines in the last week that HBO probably gathered enough material for two jam-packed hours.

The final hour captured the most compelling threads with HBO’s artful mix of great music and stunning cinematography, leaving us all wanting more – just like the 2011 edition. Let’s take a look at how they handled some of the top stories:

The penalty shot

Naturally, the Winter Classic coverage provided many of the show-stopping moments, but the high point revolved around Danny Briere‘s penalty shot against Henrik Lundqvist. HBO pulled out all the stops with multiple camera angles, a perfect soundtrack for the moment and then allowed the inherent drama to take over.

Jaromir Jagr‘s up-and-down week

To little surprise, Jagr dominated much of the footage. HBO went behind the scenes during his momentous visit to Pittsburgh with Maxime Talbot, who clearly faced an emotional night.

source: Getty ImagesNaturally, it didn’t stop there as cameras captured Jagr during his well-documented Winter Classic injury. They followed him all the way into the trainer’s room, only stopping when Jagr waived them off while getting treatment.

Finally, perhaps the best bit of chatter came regarding Mike Rupp‘s mock salute. Some Flyers weren’t even aware it happened, others shared considerable disdain for the gesture while the Rangers were predictably supportive of the celebration. Regardless of where each player stood, it all resulted in a bevy of gut-busting one-liners.

Bryzgalov’s pain

Ilya Bryzgalov cast a large shadow over the final episode, but this time he wasn’t a source of comic relief. Really, he provided a sort of dark comedy, as HBO captured him in some painful moments after an ugly loss and included footage of Bryzgalov spilling the beans about the Winter Classic starter.

As much as HBO spotlighted Bryzgalov’s oddball side, the greatest value came in the evidence that he happens to be a rather sensitive soul. (Note: that might just be a long way of calling him a “goalie,” though.)

***

From Marc Staal‘s comeback to robust critiques of referees, HBO covered all the biggest threads without giving the hour-long episode a congested feel.

Still, many of us will miss the “little” moments the most. What were some of the standout scenes for you? Feel free to share your favorite memories from the final episode and the second edition of HBO’s great doc series, in general.

Finally, if you want to read up on the rest of the series, here are recaps for the other episodes:

Episode 1 review
Episode 2 review
Episode 3 review

  1. rangersjetsfan - Jan 6, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    I love how the Flyers were concerned about getting back at Rupper by planning reproducing Anisimov’s “shooting” celebration only to have Rupper score again. HBO really showed the game within the game.

  2. nynewsblob - Jan 6, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    Jagr telling a stumbling Mrs. Talbot that “You skate like your son”, at the pre-Classic family skate was pretty tremendous

  3. mtm1321 - Jan 6, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    24/7 Flyers v Rangers was great. I would love to see a full season show. This gives the hockey fan more to appreciate and the non hockey fan more to wanna see.

  4. tikkanen10 - Jan 6, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    I’m a Rangers fan, but Rupp really needs to show some respect to a future Hall of Famer like Jagr and lay off the salute.

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