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HBO 24/7 not happening for Blackhawks vs. Capitals Winter Classic

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We'll miss you, HBO.

Bruce Bennett

Sorry, but you won't get to see Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals or Patrick Kane and the Blackhawks on HBO this winter. According to Greg Brady of Fan 590 in Toronto, the NHL and HBO are done with the annual 24/7 series that follows teams in the run-up to the Winter Classic. HBO confirmed the news.

24/7 has become appointment viewing for hockey fans since the first edition followed the Penguins and Capitals back before the 2011 Winter Classic. They followed the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers before the 2012 Winter Classic, and this last season followed the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings before their New Year's Day game at Michigan Stadium.

There's no doubt that the show felt a little more stale with each passing edition, but that doesn't make this news any less disappointing. HBO 24/7 represented the only true, uncensored look behind the scenes at life during the NHL regular season, and despite several recent attempts by the NHL's official production arm to recreate the HBO 24/7 motif, those league-produced documentaries don't feel anywhere near as real as HBO's version.

Maybe it's the swearing. Maybe it's that we don't trust the league to give us an authentic look. Maybe it's the weird narration and the lower production value. Regardless, shows like NHL 36 and NHL Revealed just haven't been up to par with HBO 24/7.

Reports in July indicated that the NHL and HBO were still negotiating on whether to bring back the series for the 2015 Winter Classic. The Fan 590 report says that HBO walked away from those discussions.

Here's what HBO has to say on the matter:

Everybody at HBO enjoyed working with the NHL and its teams on 24/7 the past four years.

It was an exciting endeavor and we're very proud of the never-before-seen presentation of the world of hockey that 24/7 was able to capture.

There was never an expectation that HBO would chronicle the lead-up to the Winter Classic every year.

So we will not be involved with the NHL this season.

We wish the NHL the very best and the door will always remain open.