NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 23: The Philadelphia Flyers bench look on as their teammates play against the New York Rangers on December 23, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Episode 3 of HBO 24/7 Flyers/Rangers got us closer to the action than perhaps any other installment of the series so far, providing us with insight on injuries, players on the rebound from awful seasons, and yes, all the chirping we could ever ask for.
HBO 24/7 lets you see the side of hockey that nobody else gets to see. Brian Boyle is one of 13 kids, Dan Girardi's kid Landon is the most adorable thing in the world, Ilya Bryzgalov is absolutely insane -- perhaps in a good way, perhaps not.
But for the hockey nerd in all of us, we don't care nearly as much in those personalities as we care to see what happens on the ice, in the locker room and behind the scenes from a hockey perspective. The parts of the series that really make my ears perk up are the game action, the locker room speeches, breaking down film, etc.
And if you're like me, in that you can't get enough of the chirping, the swearing and the complete hockeygasm that permeates these parts of 24/7, Wednesday night's Episode 3 following the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers was just absolutely delightful.
All videos are NSFW + spoiler warnings.
LAVIOLETTE ISN'T HAPPY
Scoring chances that period were seven to one. For the opposition. Do you know why, Hartsy? Cause it's about as fuckin' casual as it gets. As casual as it gets. In Boston we said, 'alright, it got mixed into the schedule, let's turn the page.' Somebody tell me what the FUCK is the difference now? What's the problem now?
I wanna see people rip their heart out of their fuckin' chest this period, and if ya don't, you're probably not gonna like your ice time. Take your first shift, you'll get it. Earn the second one. I'm not puttin' up with it. It's too much horse shit. It's too much. Don't allow it.
D-zone coverage? Soft down low. Out to the points, casual strides. We don't wanna block a shot, 'cause it hurts.
One game Boston, alright let's move on. Tonight? Unacceptable. Not gonna happen. We're way better than what we just showed, every guy in here knows it, and you should not accept it. Don't. You got twenty minutes. You win a period, you win a game, we move on.
But you need to dig in right now. Every guy. Enough is enough. Start playing with some jam in here. Let's go.
This is how Episode 3 opened, and as fantastic as that speech from Laviolette was, narrator Liev Schrieber's deadpan comment following it may have been even better.
Evidently, the Flyers three-game road trip hasn't begun so well.
YOU FIGHT TOO LONG, CAM JANSSEN
"Aw, here goes Janny, he's gonna wanna go forever..." is the lament of somebody with a microphone, perhaps a commentator, perhaps a player. It's unclear exactly, but Cam Janssen's tangling partner, Ranger Mike Rupp, agreed with the sentiment.
I feel like I know him pretty well. I like him ... but he likes to go forever. We're fighting and I'm like, 'dude, I haven't done anything in like two months. I'm just comin' off injury. I'm not fighting for another five minutes.'
CLAUDE GIROUX RETURNS FROM CONCUSSION
Last Tuesday in Dallas, the Flyers had just arrived from their game in Colorado and were taking the ice for practice. As was hinted in the waning moments of Episode 2, the Flyers were to get Claude Giroux back in their lineup for game on Wednesday night vs. the Stars. Laviolette and Giroux talked about th
LAVIOLETTE: G, how do you feel?
GIROUX: Not bad
LAVI: Good. You look really good.
GIROUX: I don't know how I'm gonna feel during the game, but, I just don't wanna go out there and hurt the team, you know? Like, I don't know how I'm...
LAVI: You're kidding me, right? You look great out here.
GIROUX: It's practice, though.
LAVI: Yeah, but it doesn't matter. I mean, if you feel good, you'll be fine. You look like a million bucks out here.
We knew by Wednesday morning that Giroux would likely play against Dallas, but after that practice session on Tuesday, the future Hall of Famer who calls Giroux a linemate, Jaromir Jagr, was trying to push him in the right direction.
JAGR: Are you playing tomorrow?
JAGR: You better play tomorrow.
GIROUX: *smile* You decide, Jags.
GIROUX, LAVIOLETTE vs. STEVE OTT
It was a good thing Giroux did wind up playing against Dallas, because we were afforded one of the more entertaining on-ice exchanges we've seen on 24/7 so far. Well, unless you're a fan of the Dallas Stars.
GIROUX: Are you taking this faceoff?
OTT: I'm fifth in the league.
G: At what?
OTT: At faceoffs, look at NHL.com.
G: You are?
OTT: You're a good player, you're doing well--
G: I never said you were bad?
OTT: I'm fifth in the league, so I'm probably gonna win it right here. K?
G: *slight giggle* Alright.
[whistle blows, puck drops, Giroux wins faceoff, Flyers score]
But then, one of the more talked about confrontations of last week in the NHL. Following that first period, Laviolette and Ott got mixed up in the locker room tunnel, and thanks to HBO, we now know exactly what it was all about.
OTT: Oh, no no no, show some class and you're gonna let out team go.
[Laviolette pushes one way, pushes the other]
LAVI: Go fuck yourself.
[Lavi pushes past Ott]
LAVI: Go fuck yourself.
OTT: Hey! This is my team here! Show some fucking class!
Laviolette playing dumb after the game with the media only makes the entire thing just absolutely classic.
DEL ZOTTO KEEPS IT SIMPLE
Michael Del Zotto addressed his fantastic rookie season, his awful sophomore slump that saw him return to the AHL, and how he's been able to follow that up with an impressive run during his third NHL year this season. With Del Zotto playing so well right now, of vital importance while they're still without No. 1 defenseman Marc Staal, the conversation was extremely newsworthy.
"I think I've just stayed within myself this year. Most of the things I learned were more mental than anything. You know, last year I was kinda always looking for that perfect play and that first season got to me a little bit, thinking I was gonna put up 60-70 points, something crazy like that. So coming into camp this year, I just wanted to keep it simple."
[Brad Richards] has done a great job as far as helping me on the ice but I think off the ice has been the biggest thing, being a professional, painting a great picture of what you want people to perceive you as. I can't say enough about him. He's been great to me.
CALLAHAN, TORTS TALK SHOP
During the first intermission of Flyers vs. Rangers on Friday night, captain Ryan Callahan pulled John Tortorella aside to describe a play. Torts asks "What play was it?" and Callahan explains on the white board, saying that Jagr was positioned up near the top of the circle while the play was in the corner in the Rangers defensive end.
They're looking for the antidote to Jagr, and Tortorella explains that "We can't go there, someone else needs to go to that ice." Then, Torts runs off to the video room to check out the play and come up with a solution. This is as close as we'll ever get to the game, and man, it's beautiful stuff.
Tom Sestito played just a handful of games for the Flyers last week, ultimately being sent down following Friday night's contest with the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Perhaps Laviolette and Paul Holmgren were less than impressed with his showing in a chirp battle with Rangers star Brad Richards.
SESTITO: Shut the fuck up, look at you, you fuck. I'm gonna knock every fuckin' one of you out.
RICHARDS: One day in the NHL for you. Fantasy camp for you.
SESTITO: I'll take another suspension on you, you fuck. Wait til you see your face after I fuckin' stick you.
Probably should stop while you're ahead, Tom. Not that you ever were ahead.
YOU'RE IRRELEVANT OUT HERE
The hard truth that enforcers in the NHL have to deal with in the game today is that their role is being marginalized. Guys like Jody Shelley of the Flyers aren't much use on NHL teams these days, thanks to rule changes and the desire to have players with definable hockey skill filling out the top 12 on every team in the league.
Shelley has had just one fight all season for the Flyers, and as a guy who makes his living fighting other hockey players, that's a scary notion. So it's not shock that when he does see the ice, he tries to take on tough guys from the opposing team. We're guessing, given that number of scraps this season, he typically gets a response like the one he got from Mike Rupp of the Rangers on Friday night.
SHELLEY: You lookin' for a fight? You lookin' for a fight?
RUPP: What are you gonna do, Jody?
SHELLEY: Are you lookin' for one?
RUPP: You're fuckin' irrelevant out here. You're fuckin' irrelevant out here. If you had any outcome on the game I'd fuckin' go with you. You don't. You don't.
SHELLEY: Goin after the 22 year old, Rupper?
RUPP: He's acting like a fuckin' idiot.
There were plenty of other great moments in Episode 3, from Ilya Bryzgalov's crazy kids to the Rangers ugly sweater party to the Flyers getting together for Christmas in Philadelphia to Marian Gaborik carrying a Christmas tree on his shoulder through Tribeca.
But the takeaway from this one, at least for me, was just how close this series gets us to the game we love. It's a wonderful thing. Now let's find a way to extend it beyond just next week.