The time has finally come. HBO will be premiering it's 2011 edition of "24/7: Road to the NHL Winter Classic" tonight at 10 p.m. eastern time. Of course, this year's storyline will follow the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers in the weeks leading up to the actual game on January 2 at Citizen's Bank Park, and tonight will be the very first episode, which will cover about a week's worth of games.
In games that HBO has been in attendance to tape, the Rangers have went 3-2-1, so we'll get to see some emotional swings I'm sure. Keep in mind that this includes the match-up between the Rangers and Flyers that took place in November, which the Blueshirts won, 2-0. Aside from that game, the Flyers have been undefeated since HBO began installing the cameras.
Some things I will be looking for:
- John Tortorella. To see Torts behind closed doors in general will be an experience in itself, and I'm very anxious to see his temperament in the locker room and with the other coaches. I think many people will be surprised by Torts after seeing this.
- Pranks. I get the sense that Brian Boyle, Brandon Prust, Derek Stepan and a few others are quite the pranksters. I could very well be wrong, but I have a feeling these guys will have us laughing on multiple occasions.
- Dan Girardi. I really hope this guy finally gets the attention he deserves.
- Henrik Lundqvist. Wait until you see how serious Lundqvist is in practice and before a game. The man is part-psycho (in a good way) and you will likely see why tonight.
- Powerplay strategy. I'm not aware of how much the Rangers are actually allowing HBO to show the audience, but I really hope we get to see how this team goes about instructing players on the powerplay. I still don't get it.
- Cars. In last year's series featuring the Penguins and Capitals, we got to see what many of the players drove around. I'm a car fanatic, so I'm definitely going to enjoy that part of it.
- Sean Avery. Any glimpse of Sean Avery that we get should be interesting. Especially if they got him mic'd.
I'm really looking forward to this entire series. You learn a lot about a team and individuals when you see their daily life and personality away from the flashing lights. In my opinion, this is one of the greatest things a fan could ask for.
Stop by the blog after the episode (or tomorrow morning) for a full review of episode one.