HBO 24/7: Red Wings/Maple Leafs is only one episode old, but it’s already affecting Toronto.
Just ask the head coach.
“It’s not normal what we’re living right now,” Leafs bench boss Randy Carlyle said, as per the Canadian Press. “These people are professional people, they try to make it as easy as possible. But it’s not easy to sit and give a team meeting and have a team meeting with a camera and a microphone.
“It’s just not normal for us. We’ve never had to do that.”
The first episode of the popular HBO program aired this past weekend with three more scheduled, leading up to the grand finale — the 2014 Winter Classic, to be played at the University of Michigan’s Big House on Jan 1.
The debut episode of 24/7 highlighted Toronto’s loss to Boston on Dec. 8, and has since captured Toronto’s roughest patch of the season (or, depending on how big a distraction you think HBO is, played a role in said rough patch.)
The Leafs followed the Boston defeat — 5-2, in which Dion Phaneuf laid the hit that got him suspended — with losses to Los Angeles and St. Louis, before blowing out Chicago 7-3 on Dec. 14.
The ‘Hawks win was followed by a pair of losses — to Pittsburgh and Florida — before Thursday night’s big 2-1 shootout victory over Phoenix.
So, all told, the Leafs are 2-5-0 since 24/7 started. Which isn’t great, and probably why Carlyle isn’t happy.
“I’ve talked about white noise and I’ve talked about distraction and this is just another one for us,” he said. “It’s hard in some ways to blame people for not paying attention to it or not being attached to it, but on the other hand, we have a job to do.”