By Neil Keefe
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On Tuesday, I found out that HBO canceled How To Make it in America, which was devastating news, especially since I talked about the show in my 24/7 Thoughts, Part 1 last Thursday and how it had recently made it into my elite group of TV shows. So, I spent all of Tuesday and then most of Wednesday upset with HBO for their decision to take away one of my favorite programs, leaving me to think about how Crisp turned out without ever really knowing. But at 10 p.m. when 24/7 started, I forgave HBO for their decision and instead thanked them once again for the best reality show on TV.
I wish that 24/7 would last for an entire season for one team. Four weeks and just four episodes surrounding the Winter Classic isn’t enough. We need more 24/7. We need training camp and regular season and postseason 24/7. And we need more than just hockey and boxing. Could you imagine if there was a series created around the Yankees? Hey, I can dream, right?
In the second episode of Rangers-Flyers 24/7 there wasn’t anyone that really played as significant of a role as the four people I singled out last Thursday, but there were great scenes and perfect music selections. So, like I did last week and will do every week for the series, here is a look at some of my favorite moments from the second episode of the series.
Henrik Lundqvist could be coming off the ice after a triple-overtime game in the playoffs or getting ready for a photo shoot or playing the guitar with John McEnroe and he will always look the same. The man’s hair is always in perfect shape and he always looks like he is about to go a New Year’s Eve party. How does he do it? And by the way he dresses and presents himself, I never know if Lundqvist is about to play be playing goal for the Rangers, or accept a mission for Her Majesty’s Secret Service (even though he’s Swedish and if he trades in his Maserati in for an Aston Martin, he could be 007), or play high-limit craps at the Wynn.
Landon Girardi is 1 1/2 years old. There are a lot of 1 1/2-year-old kids in the world, but how many of them are taking slap shots and practicing one-timers? Is there any chance the Rangers can sign him to one of those European soccer-like deals now before he hits the open market when he’s 18? I mean is there any doubt this kid isn’t playing in the NHL in the 2027-28 season?
When Dan Girardi is telling his son he is going to come on the road with him to Philadelphia for the Winter Classic and he says “Beautiful Philadelphia” he can’t even keep a straight face. Is there any non-native of Philadelphia that ever wants to go there?
The announcement of Chris Pronger’s season-ending concussion led to Paul Holmgren to say, “We can’t sit around and feel sorry for ourselves because no one is going to feel sorry for us.” Is this the worst saying in sports? I think it is. Well, except for the “Bill Belichick” where he says “They just made a few more plays than we made.” But whenever a team is marred by injuries, coaches or general managers use that line. I think I have heard Joe Girardi say it 192 times nice becoming Yankees manager in 2008. Actually, I just checked and he’s said it 194 times, so I was little off.
It always seems impossible to me that Chris Pronger could still be in the NHL. He was drafted second overall by the Whalers in the summer of 1993 when I was six years old, and that year I saw him play in a charity softball game in Guilford, Conn. At the time he was the lankiest 6-foot-6, 19-year-old defenseman on the planet and because he wasn’t Pat Verbeek or Geoff Sanderson or Andrew Cassels or any of the other popular Whalers, no one really cared to interact with him, especially not a six-year old who didn’t know the meaning of being the No. 2 pick in the NHL draft. That was 18 years ago, and the guy is still playing, so like I said, it feels impossible, and at this point I feel like he might play forever.
Once again, I don’t like that Jaromir Jagr is a Flyer, but just watching everything the guy does is enjoyable. Whether he’s taping his sticks like in Episode 1 or taking helmet-less one-timers at an empty net in practice, Jaromir Jagr amazes me. It probably has something to do with what Zac Rinaldo said in that growing up and watching Jagr and playing with him on Sega Genesis creates this sort of aura around him that very few other players in the league still have. Now if only Jagr would slim down to his ’91-92 weight and grow his hair out, we could get really nostalgic.
Here is something my friend Dave pointed out to me: Where would Bryzgalov be if he wasn’t good at stopping pucks? I think it’s a fair question. I mean this guy might be the best reality TV show character of all time. There’s a reason why Jaromir Jagr switched tables, choosing to eat by himself, and why everyone was speechless when Bryzgalov was comparing his husky to a beautiful blonde woman with blue eyes. It’s too bad Bryzgalov hasn’t had a chance to watch the show yet because he didn’t have HBO in his hotel room because he is certainly stealing the spotlight.
I loved when Mike Rupp was complaining about a late hit against him against the Coyotes and said, “You won’t get up if I hit you late.” You have to have something wrong with you to want to go toe-to-toe with Rupp.
Tortorella loves Rupp. He praises him at every opportunity. But I’m beginning to think that maybe he doesn’t even really like him and that he just likes that he’s another body on the roster that he can use instead of Sean Avery. The day that Avery is no longer officially a New York Ranger will be the happiest day of Tortorella’s life.
I wouldn’t want to be the camera guy in the awkward position of being on the locker room floor about four feet away from John Tortorella after the first period in St. Louis. Aside from being at Fenway Park in the eighth inning for “Sweet Caroline” or just being in the city of Philadelphia in general, I think being in the locker room between periods with Tortorella on life tilt is the last place I would want to be.
It was just a few years ago that Canadiens fans hated their own goalie in Carey Price, and their taunting led to him giving his own gestures to his home crowd against the Bruins in the playoffs. Then he bounced back and was “one of the best” goalies in the league (I used quotations there because I never thought he was good and still don’t think he is), but now he seems to be back to his mediocre. How many awful goals did he allow in the game shown against the Flyers? Every one?
How about Sam Rosen jumping the gun on his call in the Coyotes game by saying, “This one’s going to overtime!” Granted there isn’t a person who thought that with one second left and Brad Richards not in scoring position or near the net, who thought the Rangers would have time to score, but how about waiting until something happens before saying it? We already have one John Sterling and one Michael Kay in the town. We don’t need another one.
Last week I said everyone liked Hartnell for his line to Matt Cooke, but then went back to hating him and it’s true. However, I liked the way he stepped up when his team was getting lit up in Boston, and loved his F-bombs down the tunnel to the locker room. But no, I still don’t like him.
“Midnight City” over the final scene of the episode with the sax solo taking us into a black screen can only be described as perfection.
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