HBO 24/7: Episode Two Review

HBO’s “24/7” series finally delivered the goods.

The Detroit Red Wings coverage in the first episode had displayed a tame and reluctant club in front of the cameras, mostly regurgitating cliché lines the viewers are accustomed to hear in the post-game. This second episode, though, captured the unfiltered inner sanctum of the Red Wings. If Detroit wanted to appear composed and level-headed in front of the cameras, the team’s losing streak derailed any hope of that.

With that, here are some of the more interesting tidbits regarding the Red Wings:

  • Brendan Smith alluded to Mike Babcock asking him who he’d rather play against, Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin. His indifference was comical, and refreshingly truthful, as his expression said it all. Cut to a truck sliding off a slippery road, a fitting metaphor for what was about to happen to the Red Wings.
  • Babcock flexed his coaching muscles immediately following the final whistle versus the Pittsburgh Penguins, as he dropped this line on Tomas Tatar, who was leaving the bench: “Don’t hang your head, it does you no good. That’s bad body language. Don’t hang your head.”
  • Following emotional and quality cinematography from the HBO crew of Detroit’s loss to the Anaheim Ducks, one of the best moments of the episode ensued when Babcock snapped at the cameramen inside the dressing room, ordering them to “get the [expletive] out of here.”

Pertaining to the Leafs, they once again provided some of the best moments of this year’s episodes. Here are some of the highlights:

  • At practice, Paul Ranger and Mark “warm blanket” Fraser were told by Randy Carlyle that they would both be a healthy scratch in the game against the Chicago Blackhawks. Listening to what the coach had to say provided an interesting insight, despite the briefness of Carlyle’s message to the pair.
  • Following the 7-3 victory over the Blackhawks, Tyler Bozak is asked about playing Miley Cyrus as the team’s victory song. He reveals that Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren approve of this atrocity. (Trade all of them.) Lupul adds that he thinks it’s odd that 22 grown men dance and celebrate to such a talentless artist. (Re-sign him for life.)
  • Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf engage in a ping pong match that shows some rare footage of the former. He doesn’t say much, but he doesn’t have to. He simply dishes an F-bomb on Phaneuf following defeat and that’s that. Gold.
  • Referee in the Leafs-Penguins game to Phaneuf and Harry Zolnierczyk: “[Expletive] both of you guys.” One of the best parts of the episode.
  • Sidney Crosby on Nazem Kadri (talking to Phaneuf): “[Expletive] dummy. Kadri’s a [expletive] joke.”
  • Finally, following the Leafs’ loss to the Florida Panthers, in which HBO were banned from the dressing room, the camera crew manages to catch Carlyle delivering a rant on his team, topped with a poignant and depressingly truthful “we suck.”

Overall, the episode provided plenty of F-bombs, the emotional ups and downs of a sports team, and the personalities of the players and coaches we rarely get a glimpse of. It was refreshing to see the human and fragile side of the Red Wings as opposed to the rather guarded persona they displayed in the first episode. The Leafs, meanwhile, proved to be entertaining once again and Carlyle probably accounted for the majority of the F-bombs.

The third episode runs this Saturday at 10 p.m. on HBO. Giddy up.