Sunday, December 22, 2013

HBO 24/7: Leafs-Red Wings Episode 2 Recap

HBO's 24/7 Red Wings-Maple Leafs: Road to the NHL Winter Classic airs Saturdays at 
10pm on HBO in the US or on most illegal streaming sites in Canada. It also airs Sundays 
on Sportsnet in Canada at 7:30pm with censors and commercials for some reason.
Coming off a lackluster Episode 1 there really was only one place for HBO 24/7: Red Wings-Maple Leafs: Road to the NHL Winter Classic to go and it didn't disappoint. Injuries continue to pile up for the Red Wings and the Maple Leafs continue to carry the series off the ice before it turns into the Sidney Crosby Show. While we do get a glimpse at a Toronto win, both teams continue to lose making for an epic climax at the end of the episode in what might be the biggest outburst yet in the entire HBO 24/7: Road To The Winter Classic series.

Let's look at some of the highlights from Episode 2:
  • David Clarkson's abs for the ladies:
  • Mark Fraser and Paul Ranger getting told they're scratched at practice by Randy Carlyle might have been the best thing Leafs fans have heard all season. Wish those two guys were mic'd up for their skate to the dressing room.
  • Justin Abdelkader and Brendan Smith are apartment buddies and ride to the rink together. This time they drove in a snowstorm and did some commentary on cars spinning out. Abdelkader telling Smith he was a hazard on the ice was the most personality the Red Wings have shown thus far.
  • Sidney Crosby 24/7 starts up as he rips the Detroit for 2 goals.
  • Justin Abdelkader is hit in the head by Deryk Engelland and we get a look at what an NHL quiet room looks like and their concussion protocol. Brendan Smith has to find a way home from the game because Abdelkader is concussed and has his Dad drive him home. Sad stuff.
  • Mike Babcock really hates negative body language and he tells Tomas Tatar not to hang his head after a loss. Babs is really keeping it together despite a long string of losses.
  • Finally something upbeat happens on the show as the Leafs win 7-3 against the Chicago Blackhawks and everyone is all smiles.
  • Miley Cyrus' music makes an appearance as we suspected. "We Can't Stop" got a full minute of talk among Leafs players and Randy Carlyle. The mastermind behind the celebration music, the injured Tyler Bozak, even makes an appearance to discuss why he puts the song on after wins before disappearing to go play the new Call of Duty.
  • More Detroit call-ups which makes HBO 24/7 a great opportunity for Red Wings fans to get to know they next Datsyuk's and Zetterberg's coming down the pipeline. Slowly the series is turning into Maple Leafs-Griffins: Road To The Winter Classic.
  • I was hoping the Ilitch family would leave boxes of Little Caesars pizza around Joe Louis Arena like hidden easter eggs for viewers to find. Next week, Crazy Bread!
  • Todd Bertuzzi says "you're way to quick, brother" to the referees after a quick whistle resulted in a Red Wings disallowed goal. Nobody is surprised by Todd Bertuzzi's use of Hulk Hogan's "brother."
  • Red Wings lose again and GM Kenny Holland gets some air time as he discusses with Mike Babcock about the team losing 5 straight. 
  • Phil Kessel loves his rec room games. Last week was bubble hockey against James van Riemsdyk, this week it's ping pong against Dion Phaneuf. On that note, I'd hate to play ping pong in Ding Dang against Dion Phaneuf. 
  • Oh the good old credit card roulette game. Jerry D'Amigo gets stuck paying a $735 bill and it's mentioned he's the lowest paid player at the table. He makes 67.5K in the AHL, but has to be living comfortably enjoying his 810,000 NHL salary stipend. We think he'll be alright. 
  • "Fucking feed him Bodes" says Joffrey Lupul as Troy Bodie and Robert Bortuzzo drop the gloves. Once again, HBO hockey fights are the best. Bodie goes again with Zach Sill and is later seen getting stitched up and taking a needle to the face that draws more blood.
  • Morgan Rielly clearly saved his 1st NHL goal for the bright lights of HBO 24/7.
  • Referee Mike Leggo tells Dion Phaneuf and Harry Zolnierczyk "fuck both of you guys!" and sends them off for being too chippy on the faceoff. Love how HBO give the referees some personality in these series' as memories of post-game beers in the referees room from Pens-Caps 24/7 return.
  • Sidney Crosby calling Nazem Kadri a fucking joke who goes down like he got shot. Gold.
  • "I don't even hit anybody" says Sidney Crosby responding to Dion Phaneuf's accusation of a hit from behind. Hilarious, but Crosby's got 20 hits this season so he should stop lying.
  • Mike Babcock shuffling the line combinations on the board really shows you how badly they're being hit by the injury bug. We hope he doesn't get desperate enough to dress his 16-year-old daughter though.
  • Did Mike Babcock cut himself shaving? Cat scratch? This is why we have you HBO. 
  • Things Nazem Kadri has in his condo: a House of the Dead 2 arcade game, mini sticks nets, basketball net on door, and a dancing Napolean Dynamite toy. He is a 23-year-old child and he and his Dad are bros.
  • Randy Carlyle calls Nazem Kadri a #2 centre who thinks he's a #1 and discusses how Kadri is beaming with self-confidence. Kadri would go on to turn the puck over for a goal. Yikes, the youngster might not like watching that part of the episode.
  • The Florida Panthers are now 3-0 on HBO 24/7. They'll be pushing hard to get into the Winter Classic next year.
  • Mike Babcock stormed the Red Wings room and kicked the HBO crew out "Get out, get out of here, that's why I shut the door, get the fuck out here!" Absolutely terrifying.
  • Randy Carlyle also kicked the HBO crew out of the room but they still managed to get the audio of his tirade against the Leafs players in which he yells "WE SUCK!"

MVP of the Episode: Sidney Crosby

Not only does Sid light the lamp against with 3 goals total, but he has some great lines when discussing Nazem Kadri and his own "non-existent" physical play on the ice. If you have to pick a guy from either the Leafs or Wings it's probably Randy Carlyle for channeling his inner-Bruce Boudreau in the dressing room.

LVP of the Episode: Nazem Kadri

While HBO didn't frame in the best light by showing a young, egotistical player living in an arcade, Kadri didn't help himself by being chirped by Crosby and costing a goal that sparked many Carlyle F-bombs. Other candidates include David Clarkson getting suspended and the HBO crew who took off when Babcock told them to leave - we really would have loved to heard what he told his Detroit squad.

Looking At Next Week's Episode:

Both teams bounce back from their end of episode losses as the Red Wings get an OT win against the Calgary Flames and the Maple Leafs beat the Phoenix Coyotes in a shootout. Should be fun to see the players talk about James van Riemsdyk's shootout goal on Mike Smith. A lot of the episode should work around the Wings-Leafs game on Saturday night in which both teams blew leads before the Red Wings topped the Leafs in a shootout. Both teams are in action before the Christmas break as the Toronto flies to New York to play the Rangers and Detroit hosts the New York Islanders. Given how tight the Eastern Conference wildcard is getting these are big games for both teams. Expect to see some mushy family Christmas stuff as the NHL takes a 3-day hiatus for the holidays. We predict Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner go tobogganing while we learn a lot about European Christmas traditions from the Red Wings.

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