Thoughts on 24/7, Episode 2


There was a lot of buzz prior to Saturday’s airing of HBO’s 24/7 Red Wings/Maple Leafs: Road to the NHL Winter Classic about camera crews having been denied access to the Detroit and Toronto dressing rooms during twin Tuesday-night losses. For a show that’s supposed to give an unprecedented all-access look into the world of these teams, the revoking of that access came as a shock.

As it turns out, it also wasn’t entirely true. Detroit head coach Mike Babcock was shown ejecting the camera crews with significant profanity; whatever followed wasn’t aired. In Toronto, bench boss Randy Carlyle’s rant was recorded from the hall; we didn’t see the crews sent out.

I’m willing to bet Babcock’s words are in HBO’s footage somewhere. Likewise, Carlyle removing the cameras was probably caught on tape. There was a deliberate editing to that five minute segment, telling a single story of collapse with two teams.

It was the sports movie formula flipped on its head. The plucky underdog faces early adversity, gets a rousing speech from the coach, then rallies for an inspirational win? Not here. These were two supposedly-talented teams facing a challenge and failing to rise to the occasion. No inspirational speech, just a berating. No comeback.

It was painful to watch the Red Wings drop that game to Anaheim but HBO made it look beautiful. No voice-over explaining anything. No player interviews. Five minutes of two teams completely unable to get anything going, played in slow motion, set to a haunting soundtrack with nothing but clips of play-by-play and the mic’d-up players and coaches themselves to provide punctuation.

We didn’t get to hear what Mike Babcock said in that dressing room but I don’t think we needed to. We were shown enough.

Clark founded the site that would become DetroitHockey.Net in September of 1996. He continues to write for the site and executes the site's design and development, as well as that of DH.N's sibling site,

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