Now that the Winter Classic has moved to the past, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said he can reflect back on HBOs 247 with a bit more fondness and less angst.
It gives a real raw, in-depth look at what hockey is like behind the scenes, Laviolette said this week. The minute the microphone goes on you, before your coffee is done, its on you.
Its completely gone from your mind. You dont know where the cameras are at. And it does eventually just blend in to the wood work. Although theyre substantial and although they lied and said we wouldnt notice them, we did.
They were great guys. The show was excellent. I think I will like it better next year knowing we probably wont be in the Winter Classic. I can watch somebody else.
The perspective of watching last years show with then Caps coach Bruce Boudreau and Pittsburghs Dan Bylsma, is very different than coming home and watching yourself on television every Wednesday.
I did enjoy watching the Pittsburgh-Washington one, Laviolette admitted. I really did. I watched it with my kids. My kids loved it. They did a great job. I do think its a great look at what goes on in the day to day lives. I think it is excellent for the sport. I think it is excellent for fans to see the game in that light where they dont get to see it.
What really surprises people is when you get into the environment of hockey and the doors are shut here and you guys are only allowed in for 10 minutes, you get an accurate description of everybody and it may not be the same as what people see on the outside.
For instance, when Claude Giroux said on camera that day in Dallas that he thought he was healthy enough to play coming off a concussion but he didnt want to hurt the team, Laviolette was stunned and replied, Are you kidding?
What the HBO camera could not portray there was when Laviolette said kidding he meant that Giroux had been performing so well in practice, it was impossible for him to hurt the club. Why? Because if Giroux were that good in practice, imagine how good he would be in the game. That was good enough for Laviolette.
As it turned out, Giroux had a four-point comeback game against the Stars.
The intensity, the hard work, the rants, the funny parts, the craziness, it really gives a good description, Laviolette said of how HBO portrayed hockey.
Although I do take it home, personally, you try not to take it home. Youre a different person. Youre a dad. We dont swear around the dinner table. It just comes off as different.
In saying that, it was accurate. What you see is what you get on a day to day basis in the National Hockey League.
Last years 247 had some excellent dialogue between Bylsma and Penguins general manager Ray Shero. This years episodes didnt have a single piece of footage showing Laviolette and general manager Paul Holmgren together, only separately.
Which made you wonder whether Holmgren and Laviolette both of whom are intensely private people when it comes to talking about their players in public had gotten together before filming began and agreed they would not talk about anything as long as HBO was around.
Homer and I dont meet every day, Laviolette said. There were some things that came up in the course of that show, but it doesnt mean that we staged it or said, Hey listen, were going to have a big meeting and talk about this or that, why dont you get your cameras in there. We never did that.
The cameras caught things and it is what it is.
If there were any meetings, the film must be on the cutting room floor. It never aired.
Laviolette was asked whether he learned anything about his players from watching 247.
Not that I didnt know, he replied. I think it was an accurate portrayal of our team.