John Tortorella

Expect to see this John Tortorella meltdown on HBO


New York Rangers rookie Carl Hagelin collided with Dallas Stars newbie goalie Richard Bachman, leading to a highly questionable charging penalty on Hagelin. ESPN New York’s Katie Strang reports that Rangers head coach John Tortorella had a simple message for Hagelin when he got back to the bench: “Do it again.”

“I told him to do it again,” Tortorella said. “The goalie charged him. The goalie’s out 20 feet and [Hagelin] is going after the puck. That’s his job. So I said ‘Do it again’.”

OK, Torts said that to Hagelin, but what did he say to the officials who called that penalty? Well, let’s put it this way: if you have children who can read lips, then don’t let them watch this video. (H/T to @agentsmith):

This is probably a convenient time to mention that HBO 24/7 premieres tomorrow

When you can watch HBO 24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the Winter Classic

2012 Winter Classic

In less than a week, a lot of hockey fans will mysteriously decide to order HBO for at least a month (and it won’t be for the latest edition of Def Comedy Jam). The reasoning is simple: NHL fans are dying to witness HBO 24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the Winter Classic.

If you’re one of those people, you might want an idea of when you can actually catch the first episode. HBO and the NHL released a useful guide of the viewing schedule for the first of the four-part series and a little information on when the other three will air.

Episode No. 1

Debut:  Wednesday, Dec. 14 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT)

Other HBO playdates:
Dec. 14 (11:00 p.m.)
Dec. 15 (5:45 p.m., midnight)
Dec. 16 (11:30 a.m., 8:00 p.m.)
Dec. 17 (10:00 a.m., 10:45 p.m.)
Dec. 18 (10:00 a.m.)
Dec. 19 (6:30 p.m., 2:55 a.m.)
Dec. 31 (10:00 a.m.)
Jan. 1 (9:00 a.m.)
Jan. 2 (6:45 a.m. and 1:55 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates:
Dec. 18 (11:00 p.m.)
Dec. 20 (8:00 p.m.)
Jan. 2 (8:00 a.m.)

(The first episode will be available On Demand starting on Dec. 19.)


The complete schedule isn’t available yet for the other three episodes, but here are the original air dates, according to HBO and the NHL:

Episode No. 2

Debut: Wednesday, Dec. 21 (10:00 pm); immediate encore at 11:00 pm

Episode No. 3

Debut: Wednesday, Dec. 28 (10:00 pm); immediate encore at 11:00 pm

Episode No. 4 (finale)

Debut: Thursday, Jan. 5 (10:00 pm); immediate encore at 11:00 pm

HBO joins Rangers for “24/7”

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The New York Rangers bid their privacy good-bye today as HBO’s “24/7” cameras joined the team for the month-long lead-up to the 2012 Winter Classic in Philadelphia.

Personally, I’d be a little uncomfortable with my every move at work being chronicled by cameras. Fortunately, that won’t ever be an issue, as I can’t imagine the ratings would be very good for “24/7: Road to the vending machine for a Coke Zero”.

But Rangers forward Brad Richards is cursed with a much more interesting life.

“I don’t want to use the word ‘annoying’ but it’s going to take some getting used to,” Richards said, as per ESPN. “Some guys will be different than others. Some will not pay attention and do their own thing and some will embrace it.”

Meanwhile, Brandon Prust might want to watch last year’s series to see how it works.

“I know I do a lot of swearing during the game, but I know they can edit that stuff,” he said.

If you haven’t seen the preview for this year’s “24/7” series, here you go:

Rangers prepare for their close-up on HBO’s 24/7

John Tortorella

Technically, the NHL still hasn’t officially announced this year’s Winter Classic on January 2nd between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers at Citizen’s Bank Ballpark. Yet on Wednesday, the hockey world was given even more proof that the Rangers and Flyers will be participants in the league’s mid-season showcase as HBO’s cameras invaded Rangers practice. The network behind the critically acclaimed 24/7 series was on the scene to capture promotional footage for the mini-series that will air in the weeks leading up to the Winter Classic.

After learning all about the show last year, there are two major questions surrounding the series this season. First, from a competitive standpoint, how quickly will the players be able to ignore the omnipresent cameras. Newly acquired Rangers forward Mike Rupp experienced 24/7 with the Pittsburgh Penguins:

“It takes a couple of days to get used to it. They’re good guys. My experience is that they don’t have crews who are like, ‘We need our footage,’ and will do whatever it takes to get it. They’re easy-going guys who are sensitive to some of the different things we do.”

For both the Rangers and Flyers sake, they’ll hope to acclimate themselves to the cameras as quickly as possible and avoid any long losing streaks during the filming process. All they have to do is ask the Capitals to find out how brutal it can be to struggle on the ice—only to have the cameras around off the ice.

The second question surrounding the 24/7 series is much more interesting from an entertainment standpoint: who will be the breakout star? Last season Bruce Boudreau and his charming Haagen-Dazs eating ways endeared him to hockey fans all over North America. Or maybe it was his #$@*& language in the $#@#*&in’ locker room?

So who is the odds on favorite to replace Boudreau as the most entertaining hockey personality on HBO? Rangers forward Brandon Prust shares his thoughts on the important matter:

“We all have our No. 1 pick,” [Tortorella] He’ll definitely be No. 1. The man with the beard (coach John Tortorella), that will be interesting to see.”

Suddenly I have visions of John Tortorella and Larry Brooks dancing through my head. Forget the games, televising those two in postgame interviews could be more entertaining than following the 40 players on the ice. Then again, 24/7 promises to have the likes of Sean Avery, Chris Pronger, and Scott Hartnell mic’d up during games.

Either way, this should be good. And just as a reminder—as if Avery and Pronger aren’t enough, we could be treated to four weeks of the sheer genius of Ilya Bryzgalov.

Who are you looking forward seeing on 24/7 this season? Are you looking forward to the usual suspects we mentioned or is there another player who you think will steal the show? Let us know in the comments.

Bettman: Teams must take part in HBO 24/7 to play in Winter Classic

Gary Bettman

While fans wait patiently to see who will participate in the 2012 Winter Classic, it turns out today that there’s a new wrinkle thrown into the mix for teams hopeful of landing a spot in the annual New Year’s Day spectacle.

The Sports Business Journal reports that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman sat down with YES Network’s Michael Kay for an episode of “CenterStage” and when answering questions about the Winter Classic, Bettman said that teams hopeful of participating in the game must allow their locker rooms and players to be open (subscription required) to be a part of HBO’s 24/7.

“HBO Sports has told us they would like to do (‘24/7’) again and again and again.” Kay asked Bettman how he would handle a Winter Classic team that refused to allow film crews into the locker room. “If you’re not going to allow (‘24/7’), then you’re not going to be in the Winter Classic,” Bettman said.

It’s a bold step for Bettman to lay this stipulation down on teams as there are a few potential teams that have been less-than helpful in opening themselves up to the media in the past. For some teams, controlling the message that comes out is more important than openness and transparency with what goes on in daily operations.

Forcing those teams that might be on the fence about leaving themselves open to public interpretation of how things go on a day-to-day basis to make a choice of whether or not they want in on the annual event is a real “put up or shut up” move by the league, and it’s a smart one.

After all, if a team’s motivation for being in the Winter Classic is to just get a piece of the financial pie that results from the game, the least they can do is take part in a cable series that’s helped generate tremendous attention for the NHL and the Winter Classic itself. If a team is unwilling to shoulder the load of doing their part to generate publicity for the league then they serve no purpose in taking part in the game that’s become the beacon of attention for the NHL.

Many have been critical of Gary Bettman’s tactics in the past (yours truly especially) but when it’s come to the Winter Classic and now with HBO’s 24/7, they’ve got a really good thing going. Considering the heaping amount of positive feedback (and ratings) for the 2011 Winter Classic in Pittsburgh, it just makes good business sense to lay things out like this and scare off anyone that might even be a bit apprehensive. Bettman has made it clear that many teams are clamoring to host or be involved in future Winter Classics and with HBO’s help, he’s got leverage to start figuring out which teams are willing to go all the way or not.