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HBO 24/7 Flyers-Rangers Review: Back in Bryzness


Another week has gone by and with it, another episode of “Road to the Winter Classic”, HBO’s no holds barred look at… a few weeks of NHL action.

Last week, Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov became an overnight sensation with his deceptively genius rantings about the “humangous big” universe, Chinese tiger laws and how our little human problems on earth are nothing compared to the expanse of space.

I learned more in 52 minutes than I did in 5 years of high school. Thanks Bryz!

jhkjrez1 HBO 24/7 Flyers Rangers Review: Back in Bryzness

(He is the definition of "loveable maniac". If you look it up in a fake dictionary)

Wednesday night brought with it episode 2 (of 4) and it did not disappoint. I worried after the reaction he got after episode 1 that HBO would focus too much on Bryzgalov and rob me of any heartwarming friendships between John Tortorella and 10 year-old fans. My fears were happily put to rest last night.

Oh, by the way, you can consider that your first official warning. Episode 2 features a full frontal assault on your heartstrings. It also flanks them and attacks from above.

Before I get to the rest of the episode, let’s check in with Ilya Bryzgalov to see what he was up to this week. It should be noted that HBO held back and waited until 16 minutes into the episode to unleash his special brand of madness.

Awesome to see how his teammates react to his newfound celebrity. Even if Jagr acts like one of those jerk kids on the bus at the beginning of Forrest Gump.

Also I think my favourite moment of the “husky clip” is the way (at the 43 second mark) Bryzgalov says “There’s no HBO in my room… what about yours?”. It comes dangerously close to crossing the line from honest question to hotel bar pickup line.

HBO puts Bryz on ice until about the 36 minute mark of the episode where they feature him talking about goalies and defenceman. Unsurprisingly, he gives them a golden moment and the crew cracks up.

I would applaud the honesty of a company named “1-800-Let Me Transfer You To Another Department”. At least then you know what you are getting.

But enough about Bryz, there is a whole lot more that went down.


- Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was the first focus of the episode. Last week I wrote about how this guy is far and away the sharpest dresser on the show, and this week he upped the ante. First, by showcasing that he has the bluest eyes in the world. Even Daniel Craig thinks they are too blue.

247eyesrez HBO 24/7 Flyers Rangers Review: Back in Bryzness

(Which one is Lundqvist, which one is a White Walker from Game of Thrones?)

- The first segment also features Lundqvist jamming with tennis legend Jon McEnroe and playing some Foo Fighters in preparation for a charity gig. Lundqvist is really working hard to take some of Bryzgalov’s heat. I respect that. Although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hope next week’s episode features this band breaking up due to “creative differences” (Such as Lundqvist thinking Foo Fighters are “out”, with McEnroe angrily protesting that they are “in”).

lefthanignrez HBO 24/7 Flyers Rangers Review: Back in Bryzness

(Small moment that was overlooked: Lundqvist leaves McEnroe hanging. Diss!)

- Rangers D-man Dan Girardi’s home life is profiled. Extra focus is given to him playing hockey with his 1.5 year old son, Landon, and then leaving home to go on a four night road trip.

- Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette tries to get his team fired up during a pre-game speech. Last episode, they lost league leading scorer Claude Giroux to a “friendly fire” concussion. Here, Laviolette addresses the team as such: “G comes outta the lineup now. Danny B, Hartsey, Max, Reader, Koots, Jake, everybody has to dig in here.“.

Maybe Laviolette is the one who should dig in and give “Jake” a legit nickname?

- And even though Giroux and Pronger are out, HBO 24/7 shows you that if you have a team of superstars, solid players and talented rookies, and two of them are out with injury, you too can dig deep and achieve the entirely expected.

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(With Chris Bosh out with an injury, the Miami Heat become scrappy underdogs)

- As the Flyers win to extend their streak at six games, Mac Miller’s “Knock Knock” gets another huge plug as their post victory dressing room anthem. Illegal downloads of that song must be through the roof.

- Coach Tortorella takes the Rangers through a film session. As much as I love this insider look at hockey, it would be even better to see Torts break down movies.

tortsonfilmrez HBO 24/7 Flyers Rangers Review: Back in Bryzness

("See that? Right there! That's how Stella got her groove back")

- The Flyers focus is turned towards their rookies who have been stepping up and making big contributions. 19 year-old Sean Couturier is applauded by alternate captain Danny Briere for looking like a grizzled veteran on the ice.

Briere: “I know at his age I was far from ready to compete in the NHL” .

You and me both, sir. You and me both.

headfart HBO 24/7 Flyers Rangers Review: Back in Bryzness

(Farting on someone's head is about as far from the NHL as you can get)

- Rangers Brandon Prust and Brian Boyle awaken from a pre-game nap. Prust gets dressed quickly but Boyle takes an extended amount of time and has trouble deciding what to wear. Obviously the fact that Henrik Lundqvist always looks like James Bond is getting to him.

- During the Flyers/Canadiens game, a questionable call leads to the tying goal for Montreal. Laviolette is all over the officials, dropping “disgrace” bombs and claiming the whole scenario is “typical Montreal”. Loved this. I’m glad HBO is chronicling this and we get to see that sometimes… coaches don’t agree with calls.

peter lavioletterez HBO 24/7 Flyers Rangers Review: Back in Bryzness

(Pictured: One of those times)

- After the game, it is revealed that Flyers captain Chris Pronger would miss the rest of the season with severe post concussion syndrome. This would have been a shocking development, if reality hadn’t already spoiled it for me last week.


- John Tortorella’s heartwarming friendship with 10 year-old diehard Ranger fan Liam Trainer, who suffers from cerebral palsy, is profiled. This is what this show is all about. After a Rangers charity event several years prior, Liam and Coach Torts continue to stay in touch and often text each other.

Tortorella: “I’m glad that he’s a part of my life… and I’m glad that I’m a part of his“.

*Sniff* compared to Liam and Torts, “The Fox and the Hound” is garbage.

fox and the hound poster 0 HBO 24/7 Flyers Rangers Review: Back in Bryzness

(You have been replaced in my heart)

- It is announced during the show that Tortorella has arranged for Liam to attend the Winter Classic. Yes! A multi episode arc for Liam!

- The episode is touching me so much I feel like I should be paying for it. Oh right…

hbo logorez HBO 24/7 Flyers Rangers Review: Back in Bryzness

("It's not TV. It's... more expensive than that")

- During a concussion examination for Claude Giroux, a Flyers player (not sure who) referred to concussions as the “flavour of the month” and said ” Hopefully I don’t get one from Santa Claus this year”. If Santa shows up on Christmas eve, and gives you a concussion, you have been very BAD.

santas slayrez HBO 24/7 Flyers Rangers Review: Back in Bryzness

(This movie actually happened.)

- Flyers rookie Sean Couturier lives with divorced Danny Briere and his three kids. If HBO doesn’t get a spin-off for Bryzgalov going, perhaps this NHL meets “Full House” show could work.

- The Vancouver Canucks make a rare appearance on HBO 24/7! Couturier is playing NHL 12 with Briere’s kids and one of them just destroys Roberto Luongo on a breakaway. C’mon Couturier!

canucsk247rez HBO 24/7 Flyers Rangers Review: Back in Bryzness

(As close as the Canucks will come to being on the show this season)

- The Rangers play in Phoenix at the historic Jobbing.com arena. HBO uses most of it’s budget inserting CGI fans into the crowd so that it isn’t obvious only 36 people are actually there.

- The show shows Liam watching the game in New York. This now has the effect on me where I have to cheer for the Rangers because I don’t want him to be sad. EVER.

- I have hated the Rangers with a passion since ‘94. Liam makes it next to impossible for me to root against them so I’m hoping next week, they profile a Ranger fan who talks during movies and picks all the marshmallows out of the Lucky Charms.

- In between periods, the referee room is shown and the officials are discussing a Mike Rupp hit. I definitely want to see more of this. It’s a great look at the game from the referee perspective. Also, contrary to what I expected, their room doesn’t look like this:

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(The German "Spider-Man 3" poster really ties the room together)

- Ranger D-man Steve Eminger suffers a separated shoulder, but as the Narrator announces that his night “has been rendered… complete” a guy backstage at the arena dramatically closes a curtain as Eminger walks away. That guy is quietly amazing and I wish to use this moment to sing his praises. Just watch the first 25 seconds of this video and you’ll know what I’m talking about:


- During the final montage, Dan Girardi is shown returning home and reuniting with his son. The emotional weight of this moment is somewhat lessened when I remember he has been gone for only four days.

- Episode 2 ends with the Flyers getting blown out by the Bruins, Simmonds coming short of beating Lucic to a pulp and Claude Giroux practicing for a potential comeback.

If I had to make a bold prediction for next week’s “Road to the Winter Classic” episode, it would be that Giroux returns and gets four points in his first game back.

Episode 3 will air on Wednesday December 28th, and I will review it the next day.

And with that, this review ends…

247curtainrez HBO 24/7 Flyers Rangers Review: Back in Bryzness


NOTE: John Tortorella F-Bomb count was down from last week and clocked in at 13 uses of the F word. He has a long way to go to top Bruce Boudreau from last year, although I fear he is off the pace now.

To be fair, we didn’t see the text messages he sent to Liam. They could have been full of them.

j. Bowman can be followed on twitter (@jBowmancouver) or in public. To do the latter though, you’ll probably have to go to Surrey. Might as well just save yourself the effort and follow on twitter.

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