We’re now three episodes deep in “HBO 24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the Winter Classic” and seven into the series overall. After a strong first and second episode, there are some rumblings of the third installment being a little weak.
Personally, I think that’s really just a testament of the high bar that’s already been set. Either way, there were some memorable moments to be found, as you’ll see in the top 10 phrases one might associate with episode three.
“Go [blank] yourself”
As expected, HBO captured the awkward exchange between Steve Ott and Peter Laviolette. Ott crowed about respect (and also had an odd trash-talking exchange with Claude Giroux), but Laviolette simply told him to … well, you know.
The New York Rangers held an “ugly Christmas sweater” party that Brad Richards sharply compared to a Halloween party. The biggest highlight was Ryan Callahan’s light-up sweater, but there were plenty of beauties.
Praise for Giroux
Everyone from Laviolette to Jaromir Jagr urged Claude Giroux to make his comeback. The most telling part about his excellence came in the locker room after his four-point return, though. Sure, he celebrated, but his teammates certainly didn’t seem surprised. In other words, they simply expect that from the genuine NHL star.
Gaborik’s Christmas tree
The episode took the hockey world deep into Marian Gaborik’s life, as he did such important things like buying a Christmas tree. Naturally, hecklers couldn’t help but make injury jokes as he carried the tree to his apartment.
Speaking of jokes, HBO’s microphones captured some high-level chirping in episode three. Mike Rupp echoed Brandon Dubinsky’s criticisms, calling a Philadelphia Flyers goon “irrelevant.”
“Like fantasy camp”
Brad Richards might be as bland as watching paint dry during interviews, but the star can trash talk with the best of them. He beat down a marginal Flyer by saying that playing in an NHL game must be “like fantasy camp” for him. Ouch.
Laviolette had some great moments in episode three, but his frequent requests for the Flyers to bring the jam might have some meme-generating potential.
In episode two, HBO brought us into the officials’ own locker room. Episode three’s unique fly-on-the-wall moment came in the NHL’s war room, where goals are reviewed. It was another one of those intriguing little slices of professional hockey life that you won’t see anywhere else.
More and more, it seems like Laviolette and John Tortorella are great at their jobs. Sure, their messages are often profane, but Derek of the Pensblog was accurate in calling both of them “master motivators.”
Five faces of Bryzgalov
HBO went through most of the episode before finally going back to the series’ breakout star Ilya Bryzgalov. It was worth the wait, though, as his infamous Husky harassed is predictably hilarious son while Bryzgalov explained that he has “five faces.” It was a confusing way to say that he acts differently in public and in private, but as usual, it was also highly comical.
Some might say that another key phrase might be “filler,” but the previous 10 seem good enough to me. Were you happy with the latest hour from HBO? Are there any other phrases that might leak into your vocabulary? Feel free to share them in the comments.