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Zetterberg, Howard injuries tough on Red Wings, but gold for HBO’s 24/7

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By Allan Muir

The timing couldn’t be worse for the struggling Red Wings.

Goalie Jimmy Howard is dinged up. Stephen Weiss is out indefinitely with a groin injury. And leading scorer Henrik Zetterberg, suffering through a herniated disc, has been moved to long-term IR to create roster space for third-string goalie Petr Mrazek, a move that ensures the star forward can return to action no earlier than Dec. 28.

And maybe worst of all: Detroit is coming off back-to-back losses to the lowly Panthers.

MUIR: Howard may miss Winter Classic, Olympics

This exactly isn’t the image the proud Red Wings franchise wanted to showcase on HBO’s 24/7: Road To The Winter Classic. Their star turn on major cable seems like it will be more akin to showing up for picture day with a black eye and couple of missing teeth.

But while Detroit might be stumbling toward its Jan. 1 meeting with the Maple Leafs in Ann Arbor, the injuries could be gold for the producers of 24/7.

“The nature of reality TV is you follow reality,” says Heather Muir, cast producer for The Bachelor Canada and Big Brother Canada (and, for the sake of full disclosure, my wildly successful kid sister).

“You report on events as they reveal themselves,” she says. “I never say something is good or bad until after the experience has occurred, but it is more story to follow.”

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  • Published On Dec 12, 2013
  • 2014 NHL Winter Classic to be held in…

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    Just as originally planned for this year before the lockout led to its cancellation, Ann Arbor's Michigan Stadium will host the 2014 Winter Classic between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings on New Year's Day.

    Just as originally planned for this year before the lockout led to its cancellation, Ann Arbor’s Michigan Stadium will host the 2014 Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. (Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Alright, no real surprise here. The league finally got around to confirming this morning that the 2014 NHL Winter Classic will be exactly where the 2013 NHL Winter Classic was supposed to be, except this time it will, you know, actually take place.

    So we’ll have the Red Wings taking on the Maple Leafs at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Mich. on New Year’s Day for what looks to be the biggest game in NHL history. Certainly the biggest in terms of attendance, and probably in terms of hype as well. Read More…


  • Published On Apr 07, 2013
  • Why another lost season is possible

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    The 2013 Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium will be the biggest edition of the popular event, but that may not be reason enough to force the owners and players to come to terms on a new CBA by January 1 if there is a lockout. (Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    The inevitable differences between the NHL owners and players on core economic issues finally got some articulation in the aftermath of Thursday’s collective bargaining negotiations. Commissioner Gary Bettman didn’t use the “L word,” but he came pretty damn close.

    So while the two sides will continue working on the non-economic parts of the CBA, those matters will be the sideshow compared to the action in the center ring of this circus. That part of the discussions will resume on Tuesday in Toronto when the NHLPA offers its counter-proposal to the owners’ opening shot of salary rollbacks and contractual givebacks. The chasm between what each side wants from the agreement was given its voice on Thursday when the players presented their objections to the owners’ proposed system of revenue sharing.

    Asked how far apart the sides are, NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr responded, “There’s a meaningful gulf there.”

    Bettman: “We obviously have a wide gap to bridge on a whole host of issues.”

    No, this is not encouraging. And while many people think that a lockout-shortened season would likely begin with the Winter Classic on January 1, there are reasons to think again.

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  • Published On Aug 10, 2012
  • Winter Classic foes continue their historic rivalry

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    The Flyers and Rangers have been at each other’s throats since the days of Dave Schultz and Philly’s infamous Broad Street Bullies. (Rusty Kennedy/AP)

    By Stu Hackel

    After months of buildup and promotion, the Winter Classic is finally upon us. It is, of course, nothing more than Game 569 of the regular season schedule, worth the same two points in the standings as any other game — or (sigh) two for the winner and one for the loser if it ends in a regulation tie.

    But the exposure and popularity this unique game has brought to hockey during the past four years can’t — and shouldn’t — be denied. For that we must credit the NHL’s partnership with NBC. Their deal may be far less lucrative for the league’s teams than the ones enjoyed by other major pro sports, but it’s the best the league has ever had, especially because
    NBC and its offshoots respect the product and help create new ways to expose it.

    The same can be said for the NHL’s deal with HBO which, through its”24/7″ series, provides an unprecedented look at the run-up to the game. Nothing has ever come close to bringing viewers inside the NHL as it really is, looks and sounds.

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  • Published On Dec 30, 2011
  • NFL sets example for NHL

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    Too tough for his own good: Maple Leafs winger Colby Armstrong did not tell team doctors about the concussion symptoms he felt after a playing the Canucks last Saturday. (Gary Angus/ZUMAPRESS.com)

    By Stu Hackel

    Should the NHL adopt the NFL’s newest concussion protocol that’s designed to help teams spot injuries and sit players who want to play through head trauma? The only intelligent response has to be, “Why not?”

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  • Published On Dec 22, 2011
  • HBO’s new 24/7 series debut sparkles

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    John Tortorella, the fiery and often profane coach of the Rangers, is a prime attraction in this HBO series. (Fred Greenslade/Reuters)

    By Stu Hackel

    HBO’s 24/7 miniseries on the Rangers and Flyers premiered Wednesday night and it is just as good as its ground-breaking predecessor on the Capitals and Penguins last season, which is to say, very good.

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  • Published On Dec 15, 2011
  • Final thoughts on HBO’s admirable 24/7 Capitals-Penguins series

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    By Stu Hackel

    Some observations on HBO’s 24/7 series “Road to the NHL Winter Classic,” which concluded on Wednesday night.

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  • Published On Jan 07, 2011
  • HBO scores with opening episode of 24/7

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    By Stu Hackel

    The opening shot of the highly anticipated new HBO Sports 24/7 series “Road to the NHL Winter Classic” shows the Washington Capitals’ red sweaters tumbling around in a dryer. It’s a perfect metaphor for a team in turmoil and the start of a wonderfully filmed and intimate look at two teams, the Caps and the Pittsburgh Penguins, on a collision course that culminates outdoors at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field on New Year’s Day.

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  • Published On Dec 16, 2010
  • The Penguins’ fiercest rival

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    By Stu Hackel

    Tonight’s the night to have some sort of video recorder at your disposal. The NHL gets ready for its close-up on the HBO 24/7 series featuring the Capitals and Penguins, but those two teams are playing important games earlier in the evening: The Caps, trying to halt their six-game slide, host the Ducks while the Penguins, hosting the Rangers, look to bounce back from Tuesday night’s loss to the Flyers, the new league leader, who travel to Montreal to take on the Canadiens. In fact, tonight’s 11-game schedule is filled with compelling matchups and a few of them (Sharks-Predators, Avalanche-Blackhawks, Blue Jackets-Canucks) will still be going when “The Road To The Winter Classic” airs, so HBO may have to wait for a quieter moment.

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  • Published On Dec 15, 2010


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