Sneak Peek: 24/7 Leafs/Red Wings
Here's a sneak peek at a 15 minute excerpt from HBO's yet to be filmed 24/7 Leafs/Red Wings, as narrated by Liev Schreiber.
It is a gradual process, one that takes hold not over weeks and months, but years and decades. Rivalry engraves itself onto the body, onto the sweater and into the hearts of fans on both sides of the battle. The Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs will begin their rigorous pursuit toward the Stanley Cup, with their paths intersecting along the way.
Ron Wilson: "Listen boys, it's gonna be pretty tough to top the Christmas holiday I had last year. Brian's not handing out any contract extensions this time around. I'm gonna do my best here to avoid swearing for Reimer, but it's time to get your backsides in gear."
Mike Babcock: *just looks around his dressing room with a menacing glare in slow motion*
Their primary odyssey comes in 82 parts; every one of them approached the same way.
Ron Wilson: "Play frigging hard. Come back to the bench dripping sweat; show some heart, you gotta want this. Grabovski, do you understand anything I'm saying?"
Although it's been years since they've competed in the same conference, the old axiom "absence makes the heart grow fonder" doesn't apply to this storied rivalry.
They are two groups of men whose very existence is defined by a game. Over the next four weeks, their confrontations around the league and with each other will become ongoing stories under a distinctive microscope. Both teams look ahead to a shot at glory, but first they must do battle on the grandest stage of all. The two original six franchises will meet at Michigan's Big House in front of 111,000 fans on New Year's Day.
With the sting of Sunday's loss to the Kings still fresh, the Maple Leafs prepare to depart Los Angeles and make their way back home to regroup for a few days before hosting their rival Ottawa Senators on Thursday. The team's flight had to be rescheduled at the behest of leading scorer Phil Kessel for a unique reason. Kessel is an avid daytime television viewer, and he pleaded with his coach to push the team's flight back so he could get his daily fix of Ellen.
Head coach Ron Wilson will appease his superstar forward by making a phone call to the team's travel manager and request a new departure time.
Meanwhile, back in Detroit, the Red Wings will spend the day licking their own wounds after their embarrassing loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets the night before. At least one familiar face will be absent from Monday morning's skate, as Nicklas Lidstrom has been ordered to spend some extra time in his anti-aging hyperbaric chamber. At 42, the perennial Norris Trophy candidate will take every opportunity he's afforded to rest his body.
Lidstrom's former teammate and Red Wings assistant goaltending coach, Chris Osgood, postulates how his own career may have gone had he been pampered as much as his friend.
Chris Osgood: "Look at Nicky over there chilling in his chamber. Guy spends nearly 18 hours a day in there. I probably could have played until I was 50 if Kenny got me one of those."
Henrik Zetterberg: "Maybe you would have reached the 500 win mark... you still wouldn't be a Hall of Famer, though, Ossie."
Osgood: "Looks like he's reading a Swedish hockey magazine in there Hank."
It's business as usual on the ice at the Red Wings' practice as they will host their divisional rival Chicago Blackhawks. Even the most trivial of slip ups, a stray pass or missed check will draw the ire of Mike Babcock.
Babcock: "Get your head out of your ass Abdelkader. Don't make me ask Kenny to sign Darren McCarty to take your roster spot."
In typical Toronto fashion, members of the media are scurrying to reach the Air Canada Centre as Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke has called for a press conference on Tuesday morning. No reason was given for the flash presser.
Brian Burke: "I'd like to start by thanking everyone for gathering at such short notice. This shouldn't take too long; I just have a couple of things to say. First and foremost, there's not enough blood in the game anymore. Guys think they can get away with dirty hits and all this tough guy chirping because the threat of spilling some blood no longer pervades our game. It's lousy. We already let the rats take over the game; now we have the cockroaches taking over.
Secondly, I'd like to issue a barn fight to anyone still debating the Phil Kessel trade. That's all I've got today."
Most of the Maple Leafs will use the downtime to spend time with their families or receive some extra treatment on a nagging injury.
For team captain Dion Phaneuf, the three day layoff means a chance at getting back to his roots. He will get away from the daily routines of a hockey player and embark on an two day hunting excursion with his closest friends.