Sunday, January 5, 2014

HBO 24/7: Leafs-Red Wings Episode 4 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.
The finale to HBO's 24/7 Red Wings-Maple Leafs: Road to the NHL Winter Classic was by far the best of the season which really wasn't that hard to accomplish based on the previous three episodes. With plenty of spectacular footage from the Winter Classic, there was also more off-ice footage than previous episodes and less in-game filler of both teams losing to the Florida Panthers. From start to finish, this episode captured the giddiness of the Winter Classic and all the joys surrounding the event for the players.

Let's look at some of the highlights from Episode 4:
  • Winter Classic jerseys were made. Pretty neat to see how those are put together although we were expecting sweatshop conditions...
  • Mike Babcock finally got to add some healthy names to his whiteboard with the one biggie being #40, Henrik Zetterberg. Of course Zetterberg scored in first game back and for that his father, Goran, got to share a beer with the Red Wings coaching staff.
  • The Red Wings had 10 dad's on their road trip and Drew Miller looked like one of them:
  • Randy Carlyle and his staff are discussing the return of Tyler Bozak, a.k.a. Phil Kessel's chauffeur. They also discuss where to put Nazem Kadri now who almost went from the 1st line to the 4th line.
  • We get to see Phil Kessel's crib which has a pretty sweet hockey watching set-up. Finally we get to see and hear Phil Kessel!
  • Tyler Bozak lives in Kessel's closet for free and apparently the two throw some pretty awesome "shakers" in the offseason.
  • Dan Cleary loses 10 teeth after taking a puck to the face. After some needles and stitches, he returns to the ice. Hope he likes his dentist because he's got a couple dates lined up with them.
  • Phaneuf signs his new contract that was discussed last episode. He later gets a celebratory hug and smooch from Elisha Cuthbert. $49M and he gets her? No fair. 
  • Hard not to love a guy like Dan Cleary as he informs David Clarkson the the Cleary's are rolling 20 deep for the game and have their own bus.
  • Pretty cool that Ann Arbor dropped a giant puck for the New Years Eve countdown. Genius idea.
  • Some of the Maple Leafs arrived on New Years Day because of the bad weather which led to this Randy Carlyle-Phil Kessel exchange:
  • The footage of the Winter Classic game from the HBO lens was just awesome:
  • Dion Phaneuf gains the admiration of all Maple Leafs fans for telling Daniel Alfredsson to "fuck off" and sarcastically calling him a "fucking hero."
  • Randy Carlyle sure likes to joke around with Tyler Bozak as he tells him to "sit the fuck down" in the dressing room.
  • John-Michael Liles learned he was traded after warmups and was later seen hugging his former teammates goodbye. Ouch. 
  • The episode ends with a montage and Liev Schreiber narrating why being a hockey player is so great. If my life turned into Stranger Than Fiction I would want Liev Schreiber to narrate it.
  • Henrik Zetterberg shoots a wink at the camera and the series is over. 

MVP of the Episode: Phil Kessel

We finally got to hear the Leafs sniper mutter more than a sentence and he didn't disappoint. From his highrise tour with Bozak to struggling to get a ping pong table through a door, Kessel brought it this episode. We knew there was more to Phil and maybe it just took four weeks for him to warm up to the camera. Regardless, we're glad he did as he had some of the more memorable lines of HBO 24/7: Maple Leafs-Red Wings.

LVP of the Episode: Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Bernier

Both played great at the Winter Classic, but we would have liked to have heard more from them on how they battled the snowy conditions.

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