Thoughts On NHL 36 & 24/7

15 Dec

It was a great time to be a hockey fan on Wednesday night. It got off to kind of a rough start as NHL 36 was just about as I expected. It wasn’t terrific but it had its moments. It definitely reminded me of A Day in the Life of on NHL Network. Basically, this was just a flashier version of that show.

NHL Original Productions are clearly going for an NFL Films feel with its slow motion camera work and soaring music. Of course, fancy production is only half the battle. Content is what matters and NHL 36 could use more compelling footage. I didn’t care for Peter Coyote as narrator. They would’ve done just as well with Doc Emrick handling the duties. The show itself was very slow moving at times, which is odd since it was 22 minutes long. Much of it was fluff and was somewhat playing for the cameras.

In the end, it was no 24/7. For that matter, it was no Oil Change either. It was more on the level of Becoming Wild. A decent hockey program that’s fun to watch, but not required viewing. My guess is that it will find its groove as time goes by.

While 36 had some hiccups, the night’s highlight was on the way. As expected, HBO’s 24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the NHL Winter Classic didn’t disappoint. Any show that features The Black Keys and Fitz and the Tantrums on its soundtrack has to be pretty cool. From its music to its amazing camera work, 24/7 was on point.

It didn’t take long to see the star potential for several players. Naturally, Sean Avery was at a fashion shoot. Wayne Simmonds helped open up an urban ice rink. Ryan Callahan had an emotional reunion with his family in Buffalo. But perhaps the real star was Ilya Bryzgalov. Goalies are stereotyped as being odd and Bryzgalov delivered. His comments are sure to become YouTube fodder for years to come.

One area where 24/7 really shines is in their access. All those mics and camera work paid off in spades after Michael del Zotto crashed into the boards. The footage was mesmerizing. Then, there was the footage of Artem Anisimov and the Rangers reaction after his showboating celebration. Stuff like that is hard to beat. To top it off, cameras followed Claude Giroux around and viewers got to see a peek into concussion baseline testing.

24/7 touches all emotions. It can be heartwarming and then switch right over to footage of brutal combat. No hockey series can compare. This year’s edition is off to a strong start. As fans, we’re completely spoiled by this access. Traditionally, Saturday night is a cant miss night for hockey fans. 24/7 changes that. For the next few weeks, Wednesday nights will be must see television for all hockey fans.

The real question is why anyone would schedule 36 on the same night as the debut of 24/7. There’s no way they could ever compare and having them on the same night was silly. It made 36 look quite amateur if you compared them side by side. The only plus was that 36 made it to air a few hours earlier. If it was the opposite, you probably would’ve fallen asleep. The good news is that this problem even exists. The more behind the scenes, the better it is for the fans. Lets hope this trend continues.

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Posted by on December 15, 2011 in HBO, NHL, Television, Versus


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