The folks at HBO doesn’t disappoint when it comes to holding nothing back. This episode was more teary-eyed than the first. The first laid down the foundation of the players and storylines to watch. Episode two took you in a little deeper as it featured several relationships. Some were player-kids, player-player, and a special one between bench boss John Tortorella and a fan.
The first highlight was at the beginning when Dan Girardi was playing with his son Landon. His 18-month-old son was getting fed one-timers and taking shots on a play goal. Dan sure is getting his son an early start in hockey. At such a young age, he has a better shot than most adults I play hockey with today. By the time he reaches 5, he’ll be the kid on every mite youth team that can skate through everyone else and score 3-4 goals per game. Count on it.
Keeping in line with the Rangers, we got to see goalie Henrik Lundqvist and some of his activities off the ice. Some do modeling like Sean Avery, others spend time with their wife and children or do community work. Hanky on the other hand, likes to play music. We got to see him in a jam session with tennis legend John McEnroe. Lundqvist later said he is preparing for a charity concert with McEnroe in February. He didn’t look too bad in my opinion.
With the Flyers, there was so sophomore slump from goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. His teammates ragged on him when they saw his quotes and performance last week. They were so in awe of him, no one wanted to sit next to him at the breakfast table the morning of a game. His quotes this week included:
- About his defensemen and if they are crazier than goalies when it comes to blocking shots: “They doesn’t have the goalie gear, but they have to block the shot. So who is more crazy, me or the defensemen? Who is more weird?”
- On his dog: “My husky, basically, she’s a hot girl, man.”
Living on Detroit and seeing a fair share of Russian players wearing the winged wheel, he reminds me a lot of Pavel Datsuyk. With both players, you can’t understand 70% of what comes out of their mouth, but the other 30% is usually hilarious.
Fasting forward, we got to see one of the epic rants of this season of 24/7 between both bench bosses. During a game against St. Louis where they didn’t have much of a chance to begin with, Torts went on an intermission tirade that was pretty good in terms of the amount of F-Bombs that were dropped. But they were nothing compared to Bruce Boudreau’s rant during a game last year.
On the other side, Peter Laviolette knows what it feels like to be newly-hired Montreal coach Randy Cunneyworth: You don’t get a fair shake in Montreal if you don’t speak French. The Flyers were on the bad side of a couple of bad calls and ultimately lost the game because of a power-play goal by the Habs. Lavs lashed at the officials not only during the game but afterward, but it fell on deaf ears. During my live chat, I read a tweet from Yahoo! Sports’ Greg Wyshynski in response to Laviolette and he said it best “[He] would get the calls in Montreal if he wasn’t a unilingual anglophone.”
I would not be surprised if Lavs got plenty of emails from other coaches in the league applauding him for standing up against the perceived French bias. The rant can be viewed here. Tell me Jagr wasn’t victim of Montreal-based officiating.
The moment only long-time hockey fans would get: A hotel room moment with Harry Zolnierczyk and Zac Rinaldo Getting awestruck by playing alongside Jaromir Jagr, someone they used to play as or against in NHL video games as a kid.
This week’s Top Stars:
1. Tortorella and his relationship with disabled fan Liam. He’s 10-years-old and has Cerebral Palsy. He’s a huge Rangers fan, considering his bedroom is decked out in blue and red. He has met Torts and several players many times and even stayed up to watch their last second victory over Phoenix. What a dedicated fan.
*Honorable Mention* to the HBO editing crew for showing Torts as an aggressive, profane coach one minute and the next have him turn as soft as a pillow when talking about Liam.
2. Landon Girardi. Considering the World Junior Championships are going on, look for him to represent Canada in 2017-2018 with the type of stickhandling and shooting ability he has at 18 months.
3. Bryzgalov. He had another solid performance of zingers and one-liners.
Check out 24/7 Wednesday nights at 10:00 p.m. EST on HBO.