24/7 Recap: A TV Gift for Philly Hockey Fans

HBO's new docu-style show follows the Flyers and Rangers as they prepare for the Winter Classic

Holy hockey porn, Batman! Last night marked the much ballyhooed premiere of HBO’s 24/7—an in-depth, docu-style look at the Flyers and Rangers as they prepare for January 2nd’s Winter Classic game at Citizens Bank Park. The first installment of the four-part mini-series didn’t disappoint.

With an inordinate amount of profanity, gratuitous overhead and skyline shots of the city, and the new Black Keys single playing over one of the opening scenes, last night’s premiere was everything Philly hockey fans could have hoped it would be. Plus, the fact that the Flyers are working with a six-game win streak and haven’t lost since the show’s cameras invaded the locker room probably didn’t hurt the mood of the team in the footage used in last night’s debut.

The cameras were there to chronicle the Pens game last Thursday in which the Flyers jumped out to a 3-0 lead and held on to win 3-2. It was the first time Max Talbot faced his former squad and marked a bit of a flashback for Jaromir Jagr, also a former Pen. After the win, the team retreated to the locker room where they danced and rapped along to Mac Miller’s “Knock, Knock”—ironic because Miller is a Pittsburgh kid that includes Penguin hockey references in lyrics to some of his songs.

The cameras spent some time with the individual players, too. New goalie Ilya Bryzgalov stole the show with his musings about the daunting size of our universe and how, really, we’re all just grains of sand. He also offered up a tidbit about China’s death penalty policy in relation to tiger hunting. So, if you’re going tiger hunting in China any time soon, be sure you know what kind of tiger you’re going to kill, lest you be executed.

As exciting and interesting as most of the episode was, it wouldn’t be HBO or the NHL without some melodrama to round out the show. Shots of Chris Pronger’s jersey and equipment hanging in his locker, untouched, lead into Pronger’s confessional-style scene in which he talks about the difficulties of sitting on the shelf with all of the excitement going on. A similar scene is included later on when Lavvy and the team’s trainer discuss the status of star Claude Giroux. Giroux caught a knee to the back of the head on a strange play that saw Wayne Simmonds collide with his teammate and has since been ruled out indefinitely with a concussion.

Simmonds got his alone time with the camera crew when he went to a hockey rink out in North Philly where he spent his off-day working with youngsters as a part of the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation and spoke to 24/7 about how much he’s enjoyed transitioning from Los Angeles to a real hockey town.

Meanwhile, Philly’s foes—just 90 miles north—spent their week dropping games to Toronto and Tampa Bay before heading to Buffalo for Ryan Callahan’s homecoming. The team also took some underprivileged kids to see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall and Sean Avery spent a scene in front of another set of cameras for a fashion photo shoot.

HBO’s first installment of 24/7 didn’t delve into the rivalry between the two squads. Instead, it focused on introducing the teams and their respective styles and approaches to life in the NHL.

For the Flyers, that means high intensity on and off the ice. Such is evidenced by head coach Peter Laviolette’s analysis, “We are not a conservative team, we are a let’s fucking giddy up and go type of team,” and by the team’s excitement in the locker room after downing the Pens.

Here’s to hoping that the mood (and the winning) continue into next week’s episode—maybe with an extra #HartnellDown or two thrown in for good measure.