HBO 24/7 Flyers-Rangers: Road To The Winter Classic - Episode 2 Recap

As many of you know, the great people behind BWP also run a hockey site called The Checking Line. TCL also runs several team-specific sub-sites, and the one covering the Philadelphia Flyers will be keeping an eye on the new HBO special, 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic, which showcases the Flyers and the New York Rangers in the weeks leading up to January 2nd big outdoor hockey event.

Here is a recap of episode two, by TCL Flyers contribute Matt Brigidi, which delves deeper into some of the characters introduced in part one. You can also read the recap here.

Last week’s episode of “24/7” acted as an introduction to both teams. Feeling out the different personality types and developing main characters, the show offered more information than insight.

The second installment of the four-part series gave viewers all the behind-the-scenes action they could have hoped for, offering unique circumstances that many have never seen.

This week’s show began with Henrik Lundqvist and his relationship with tennis legend, John McEnroe. The two men are part of a cover band that will be playing a benefit concert in a few weeks. With each on guitar, the show gave a preview to the group running through the song, “My Hero” by the Foo Fighters.

In addition to Lundqvist, other player’s personal lives were profiled.

The show went into the home of Flyers forward Daniel Briere and explained how the divorced father of two entertains his sons. After ordering a few pizzas for the boys, Briere explained how he invited rookie Sean Couturier to live with him just as Claude Giroux had done the year prior. Couturier was seen playing floor hockey with the dad and his sons, in addition to table tennis and video games.

It even looked like the rookie lost a game of “NHL 12” to one of the Briere boys in a shootout, as is expected with any member of the Flyers.

Later in the episode, the cameras caught the Flyers on the morning after the first episode of “24/7”. When Ilya Bryzgalov entered the cafeteria for lunch, players immediately began ribbing him with comments about the universe.

Bryzgalov denied seeing the show before going into another soon to be famous statement about how his dog (a Husky) has beautiful eyes and is basically a “hot girl.”

While the show offered more looks into the player’s lives, it also focused on game day occurrences, specifically with the referees.

During the Flyers game against the Montreal Canadiens, Jaromir Jagr was tripped while attacking the offensive zone. Despite being taken out by a sliding Montreal defender, no penalty was called. As the Canadiens transitioned up ice, Couturier was called for a slash.

Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette was livid with what had transpired.

When the referee was called over to explain what happened, he stated that Jagr had no chance of scoring and that he tripped over the player instead of being tripped. Because of this, no penalty had occurred. Laviolette was not happy with the explanation.

On multiple occasions he stated that it was “Montreal typical,” in regards to the call going in the Canadiens favor.

When profiling the team’s next game against the Boston Bruins, a weak roughing penalty against Max Talbot was shown.

After landing a clean hit on a Bruins player, the penalty was called. After looking up at the jumbo-tron, the official explained to Talbot that they made a bad call and that his hit was clean.

This episode helped remind hockey fans that referees are human too and even showed that they admit to being wrong sometimes.

A subplot in this week’s show focused on the absence of Giroux.

Viewers were able to see Giroux taking a few tests with the team’s doctor prior to the team's Saturday matinee against the Bruins. Fast-forward to Tuesday, general manager Paul Holmgren told reporters that Giroux had been cleared on Saturday for all activity, meaning practice and games.

The examination on “24/7” was that same exam. Where else would fans have access to footage like that?

The shining moment of the episode came when New York Rangers super fan Liam Trainer was introduced.

Trainer is a young boy who has cerebral palsy. The show explained the boy’s close relationship with Rangers head coach, John Tortorella. Tortorella is usually depicted as a harsh man, who is brutally honest to the point of being offensive.

But his relationship with Trainer is nothing like that.

Viewers were offered a look into the kind heart of the Rangers coach, who constantly checks in on Trainer, making sure that he is doing all right or isn’t getting too lazy around the house. He even sent him a few tickets so that he could attend the Winter Classic.

That’s what the best part of “24/7” is; viewers have a chance to see these guys as they are. Fans love the game of hockey and this episode demonstrated why the show has been such a success.