Another Wednesday, another transcendental evening in front of HBO for NHL fans. Just like last week, we'll be breaking down the top winners and losers from the behind-the-scenes series. And just to reiterate, this is based solely on perception from watching the show, not anyone's value on the ice or as a member or society.
So with that as a precursor, let's dive into Episode 2.
Winning: Forget about Charlie Sheen for a second and just focus on the ups and downs of the NHL season. Fans always seem to think they ride the lead car of the emotional roller coaster that is an 82-game schedule in the NHL. After the portraits of the Rangers and Flyers following their big wins and losses of the past week, I think fans can realize they're not alone. No one feels the Mac Miller/Broadway hat highs and coach lecturing-lows more than the players.
The Universe: Big rebound performance for the universe tonight. After Episode 1, the Universe took a series of head shots from crease prophet Ilya Bryzgalov because it really has to deal with the full gravity of, well, gravity. In Episode 2, galaxies near and far, far away seem to be celebrating the cult-status of Bryz's favorite topic du jour. A fan-made t-shirt craze can't be far behind. Honorable "winner" mention goes to Bryz's sexy bi ... uh, pooches.
Michael Del Zotto: Several shining moments for No. 4. The coach calls him the team's best defenseman in the film session, he scores a goal vs. the Blues following John Tortorella's Coach Taylor-like (and seemingly Viagra-sponsored) intermission speech and then he springs Marian Gaborik for the crucial tying goal in Phoenix. About this time last season, Del Zotto was getting shipped back to the minors. What a difference a year makes, eh?
The Rock and Roll Career of Landon Girardi: Forgive me if I misspelled the first name of the next Mick Jagger, but it's hard to believe agents aren't dialing up the Girardi household right now. After all, he's already got the rock star move of trashing the room down. Great to see Dan and son taking slap shots too and "missing the net just like his old man." Just wait until they start the blocked shots lessons.
Brandon Prust: Respect and unconditional love for Prust are in no short supply among Rangers fans, but now they can also appreciate his role as Brian Boyle's fashion consigliere as well.
Liam and Torts: Wow ... I mean, just ... that's ... is there pollen in my living room? Hold on. There's something under my contact lens ...
It seems like you learn something new with every episode of 24/7. In this one, Liam taught us a lesson in appreciation and perspective. Tortorella told us Liam thanked him 10 times for the surprise Winter Classic tickets, but the Blueshirts' No. 1 fan put it best when he acknowledged the Ranger coach's importance to him: "It really means the world to me, how he watches out for me and he protects my back."
Man, this contact lens just won't cooperate. Give me a minute ...
Oh, and Liam, thanks for the lesson.
Flyers fans without TiVo: Philly's Wednesday night game against Dallas on Versus ran long, meaning Flyers fans had to choose between sticking it out with their team with a 4-1 lead over the Stars and 5:30 remaining or flipping to HBO. Decisions, decisions. Solution: The 11 p.m. repeat showing on HBO.
Referees/Typical Montreal: I seriously hope the Flyers meet up with the Canadiens for a playoff series because Peter Laviolette didn't exactly endear himself to Habs fans. That said, he was totally right about the non-call shown in the Flyers/Habs game. "He tried to jump over him," was the weak explanation of the refs given for the lack of a whistle when a Canadiens player took the legs out from under Jaromir Jagr. Whaaaaat? Pardon Jags for not diving.
And this was after the refs told Artem Anisimov in Episode 1 he got an additional two minutes "for whatever" during the game against Tampa Bay. Later in the episode, we saw the Flyers get penalized for what one ref admitted was a bad call because of cumulative infractions. We're all getting a lesson in how the refs' decisions on the ice aren't exactly as black and white as their striped shirts.
Lundqvist's tennis career: Like John McEnroe, I've never seen Henrik Lundqvist play tennis. But if he plays anything like he plays guitar, then I hope Hank's not contemplating taking on Wimbledon anytime soon. Guess you can't do everything at a hall-of-fame level. Wonder what Dave Grohl thought of the Ranger goalie's chops.
Chinese Tiger Killers: The losing skid continues. As the Flyers' breakfast scene proved, the word is out on the pitfalls of slaying the majestic felines. Good luck recruiting for your evil cause now, Bengal butchers.