Sid and Ovie Go 24/7 on HBO


Written on 9/23/2010 by Jim Cerny

For you cynics out there who claim that the NHL is already all about Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin 24/7, well now the league has justified your stance, lietrally making the two megastars a 24/7 attraction today.

The league announced that HBO will take its Emmy Award-winning "24/7" reality series and focus on the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals as the two clubs prepare for this season's Winter Classic at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

There will be four episodes beginning on December 15 and running through the Wednesday following the game itself. HBO cameras will have full behind the scenes access to both clubs, not dissimilar to its popular "Hard Knocks" program that features a different NFL club during training camp each season.

However don't expect this reality show to completely mimic this summer's smash "Hard Knocks" featuring the New York Jets. First, hockey players, in general, are different from football players. Reserved being the word that comes to mind. Certainly not as flashy. Second, neither Dan Bylsma nor Bruce Boudreau is quite the scene-stealing head coach that Rex Ryan is. And finally there will be no Darrelle Revis holdout issue at play here, nothing even close to it.

But that doesn't mean the Penguins-Caps program won't be entertaining theater. I have long believed that individual teams and players, as well as the league as a whole, could benefit greatly by behind-the-scenes programming. NFL Films has helped raise the popularity of football over the past few decades with its complete access and must-see programming. Micing coaches and players. Cameras in meeting rooms, locker rooms, and more. Every grunt, smash, and pow recorded from multiple angles.

Do that with hockey, even for only four episodes, and you've got something that will appeal even beyond just the hard-core hockey fan. These players, and the game itself, shown from every angle with intimate access can extend beyond the hockey faithful. I very much believe that.

Of course there are going to be those hard-core fanatics that will be upset Sid and Ovie will be the featured stars, and will think this feeds into their conspiracy that Gary Bettman and those in the league office only care about pushing a Crosby-Ovechkin agenda.

To that I say these are the two most marketable and recognizeable names and faces in the game. HBO needs that name recognition, certainly for this first foray into a hockey reality series. Maybe down the road the league could push for other teams, other stars, other personalities to be fetaured.

Now is not that time.

Like it or not the league needs Sid and Ovie to come up big in these four episodes. And in the process, viewers will also get a peak into intriguing personalities like Max Talbot, or quiet stars like Nicklas Backstrom. Crosby and Ovechkin are driving the bus, but viewers will get to know the other fascinating passengers, too. Sounds like a winner to me.

Let's hope this is just the start to more and more access for you, the fan. I am fortunate enough to have that access, and I know you will love getting to know these hockey players and this great game even more.

Roll 'em!

Follow me on Twitter: @jimcerny and @thenyrangers

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1 Comment

  1. Host Pay Per Head |

    So It would be better to do a reality show about those two. Probably it would be quite fun.


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