HBO’s 24/7 hockey series is toast – for now – but its impact was ‘humongous big’

Adam Proteau
An HBO camera team films at the 2012 Winter Classic in Philadelphia. (Len Redkoles/NHL)

Reports indicate U.S. cable giant HBO will not produce a 24/7 reality series in advance of the NHL’s 2015 Winter Classic game as it has for the past three full seasons. It’s a shame, as everyone involved in that program helped put together one hell of a show.

The 24/7 series gave the NHL an NFL Films-type treatment, and those who appeared in front of the cameras – first, in 2011, when the Capitals and Penguins squared off in Pittsburgh; then, when the Flyers and Rangers played the following year; and finally, last season’s showdown between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs – were better for it. Okay, maybe that’s not true of Bruce Boudreau (NSFW language at this link) and Randy Carlyle:

But even with their imperfections laid bare, the coaches, players and league benefitted from the behind-the-curtain glimpse the series provided to a fan base that couldn’t get enough. Read more

Henrik Lundqvist appears on The Late Show with David Letterman

Rory Boylen
lundqvist

NHL players have descended on New York to mingle with the media.

As part of this event, New York Rangers goalie and Stanley Cup finalist Henrik Lundqvist visited David Letterman and appeared on The Late Show Monday night. There, he talked about how and why he became a goaltender, playing against his twin brother Joel Lundqvist and playing against the Los Angeles Kings. Read more

Penguins’ signing of Daniel Carcillo, Steve Downie makes Mario Lemieux a hypocrite

Adam Proteau
Daniel Carcillo (Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

In the winter of 2011, Penguins owner Mario Lemieux sent a strong and public message to the NHL in regard to a “sideshow” brawl between his franchise’s players and those of the New York Islanders. Calling the incident a “travesty”, the retired Hall of Famer went on to talk about the type of league and game he wanted to be associated with:

“We, as a league, must do a better job of protecting the integrity of the game and the safety of our players,” Lemieux said. “We must make it clear that those kinds of actions will not be tolerated.”

Three years later – with Matt Cooke’s infamous legacy in Pittsburgh still relatively fresh in the collective memory of hockey fans – Lemieux’s team has made moves that suggest the integrity of the game and player safety isn’t as much of a priority as he’s suggested it ought to be: In July, the Pens signed expert agitator Steve Downie to a one-year contract; and Thursday, they agreed to terms on a professional tryout deal with journeyman and fellow super-pest Daniel Carcillo.

When you hear Carcillo’s and Downie’s names, the words “integrity of the game” and “safety” do not leap to mind. In fact, they run screaming away from mind. Read more

Brad Marchand sings, Patrice Bergeron recites poetry for NHL 15

Rory Boylen
Patrice Bergeron

At the NHL Awards, Patrice Bergeron was announced as the winner of the EA cover vote and now he’s reciting poetry for the game he’s representing.

With the release of NHL 15 around the corner, the marketing for it is in full gear. Today, EA released two video promotions for the game. In one, Bergeron snaps romantic poetry and in another, teammate Brad Marchand sings about his love for the game.

Both are pretty funny. Bravo. Read more

Check out this glass-shattering bodycheck by Markus Kojo

Rory Boylen
glass

The 2014 Junior Club World Cup is currently ongoing in Ufa, Russia. The 10-team tournament includes junior clubs from nine different countries around the world.

Out of this tournament comes the bodycheck of the hockey year so far. OK, so the “hockey year” has barely even started yet, with NHL training camps just around the corner. But this early contender is straight out of a video game.

One of the teams in the tournament are the Sioux City Musketeers, representing the USHL. And one of the Musketeers players, Markus Kojo, threw a glass-shattering check against a member of the Red Bull Salzburg squad from Austria. Look out! Read more

Don Cherry dumps ice water on his head in most stylish ALS Ice Bucket Challenge yet

Rory Boylen
Don Cherry

As the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge rolls on, raising awareness of and money to combat the terrible disease, we’ve shared with you some of our favorite highlights. Ex-Maple Leafs Mikhail Grabovski and Nik Kulemin made a funny one, Paul Bissonnette made one of the more creative ones, while NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and resident curmudgeon Jeremy Jacobs did a couple must-sees, but we can’t share every single hockey-related video with you.

What we can do is continue to share our favourites. Today, we present another one of those.

Don Cherry, who is either your favorite or least favorite first intermission entertainment, was challenged by partner Ron MacLean and he accepted it. In true Grapes form, his is the most fashionable video. The flowery suit he’s wearing in the video is like a camouflage with the garden behind him. But he really did it folks. He dumped a bucket of ice water on his head while wearing one of his patently excessive suits. Read more

Josh Ho-Sang is brash and cocky – is that so bad?

Rory Boylen
Josh Ho-Sang was drafted 28th overall by the New York Islanders. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

Josh Ho-Sang has been a drafted member of the NHL for less than two months, but he’s quickly making a name for himself as an outspoken, opinionated, brash player.

What a wonderful thing.

“If I was a general manager and had first pick in the draft, I’d pick me No. 1,” Ho-Sang said in an interview with the Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons just before the draft. “In three years, I’ll be the best player in this draft. And I have no doubt about that. I know myself. I know the other players. I believe in my ability. There are guys ranked ahead of me who are nowhere near me.”

Those kind of words and that kind of confidence will earn a player a lot of detractors. Read more