EPIX Road To The NHL Stadium Series Ep. 2: 'What's a jock?' (Review)

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Note to everyone. Do not watch EPIX “Road to the NHL Stadium Series” shortly after watching bad reality television.

Watching something like “The Bachelor” and then “Road to the NHL Stadium Series” is not wise. It ruins your sense of enjoyable television, because if you like train wrecks, EPIX is not for you. It's good reality TV. Others like "Married at First Sight" are not. 

Regardless of the quality, it’s a nice window into the life of an NHL player. And this episode gave more off the ice for some of these guys.

Of course, it felt more like “Lifestyles of the Rich and pseudo-Famous” when checking out San Jose’s Super Bowl party in Joe Thornton’s beautiful Northern California house.

Photo via EPIX screen shot
Photo via EPIX screen shot

It’s clear Thornton has given the crew the ‘OK’ to pretty much film everything. Or he is one of the most engaging personalities on the Sharks, and draws the camera.

But between watching players relax – because let’s face it, hockey players have a lot of down time – and the Kings’ trip to the White House, we actually got to witness how players live and how they interact with each other when they’re not being cursed at every two seconds by a hockey coach.

Speaking of hockey coaches and cursing, the ‘F-Bomb’ count was way higher this week. Todd McLellan must have heard Darryl Sutter cussing up a storm and needed to one-up him.

Way to go Todd!

Anyhoo … here is our all-encompassing review.

COORS LIGHT COLD HARD FACT

The Sharks have their own plane with team colors as well. Though not nearly as Elvis-like as the Kings’ plane. C’mon Hasso Plattner. Pony up.

Photo via EPIX screen shot
Photo via EPIX screen shot

THIS WEEK ON TRttNHLSS

We start out with the Kings at the White House. Yes! This is great, just because athlete visits to the White House rule, and EPIX completely lucked out. Not only did the Kings get chosen for an outdoor game. And not only did the NHL make a deal for this ‘all-access’ series with EPIX, but the Kings also won the Stanley Cup, which made this entirely possible. 

Thanks Sharks for blowing a 3-0 lead to these guys. 

Sadly, there are no great Darryl Sutter moments with President Barack Obama. There’s a snarky moment with Anze Kopitar commenting about how Obama is a Blackhawks fan and will mention how the Kings beat Chicago in the playoffs. Sigh. This felt contrived on so many levels – of course he’s going to say something. He always takes Chicagoish digs on sporting events.  

The best, unexpected moment was when Drew Doughty informed us he spent $700 on his suit. That or Gary Bettman and Dean Lombardi standing in unison behind POTUS like Joe Biden and John Boehner at the State of the Union.

Photo via screen shot from EPIX
Photo via screen shot from EPIX

Worst moment? We never saw Bettman’s footwear. A live ‘Gary wearing Sketchers’ to the Whitehouse would have been fantastic. 

And then a little over six minutes in we have our first Sutter ‘F-Bomb’ as his team prepares to face the Washington Capitals. What took you so long Darryl? Couldn’t cuss in front of the President? Oh well.

The Kings lose to the Caps … Sutter sounds like Barney Gumble in the background shouting obscenities. It would be nice to get more of Sutter coaching from the bench, rather than just him cursing. We had more of that in the first episode, and little in this one. And then fade to a Wayne Gretzky statue shot … 

… And we’re in San Jose at a practice.

It’s a practice where McLellan allows player’s kids to skate with their dads afterwards. It’s a great idea, and shows a neat family element of the Sharks. And it also breeds some of the greatest unintentional comedy.

First, there’s Thornton’s daughter asking her dad about his jock strap while he’s wearing it.

“Dad what’s a jock?” she questions.

Ooooooh this is awkward. Fortunately this bird’s and the bees conversation with the youngster was interrupted by Scott Hannan’s child (or a kid with a Hannan jersey at least) who nut-punches Thornton.

If you had Joe Thornton humor about his junk in EPIX for $1,000 you just won. But we still want to see him score four goals and have EPIX document this.

Photo via EPIX screen shot
Photo via EPIX screen shot

We then move onto Thornton’s Super Bowl party, in which John Scott shows us again why he’s totally employable by an NHL team. But we will get to that below in our John Scott weekly segment.

Tyler Kennedy doesn’t get football. Whatever. They’re hockey players. Thornton clearly is still a Boston fan from his time there because he rocks his Patriots jersey.

Did we previously mention his house is sick and has an absurd view? If the Sharks were a college football team, they should just show this episode for recruiting purposes.

It’s game-time against the Oilers. McLellan calls the Oilers a “good cycle team” because what else do they do well? Then he gets angry during an intermission tirade, because even if the Oilers are good at cycling, you can’t lose to them because they suck.

After a shootout defeat to Edmonton, we move 3,000 miles away to South Florida where Williams is doing crossword puzzles. Hockey players doing smart type things. Beautiful.

The cool part this trip is the Kings’ off-day practice. Watching a team in the middle of a losing streak practicing is fascinating. And the conversation John Stevens has with Brayden McNabb about sitting out gives a good inside look to the coach/player separation.

And then we see Brent Burns packing for the airport. Question. Would you let a man dressed like this on an airplane?

Photo via EPIX screen shot
Photo via EPIX screen shot

On the road, EPIX uncovers something cool and different about the Sharks. Matt Nieto is a DJ. Who knew? And how California? Because Nieto is also from Long Beach, which EPIX points out. He also writes his own beats … which of course is San Jose’s ‘original’ victory song.

After the Sharks destroy Vancouver 5-1, we hear Nieto’s tunes. Brent Burns carries a blender in that absurd looking carry-on bag along with tupper wear.

For the end of the episode we see the Kings frolicking and eating what looks like raw meat off the bone in Tampa, and Dustin Brown creating a strange looking puck statue.

Photo via EPIX screen shot
Photo via EPIX screen shot

Doughty looking 'LA Cool' with a beer in front of a steak? DRINK!

Oh, and who could forget the Marian Gaborik wink to finish. Yeeeeeah Gabby. Good show guys.

Screen shot from EPIX
Screen shot from EPIX

JOHN SCOTT ‘GOOD GUY’ MOMENT

He drinks beer at Thornton’s Super Bowl party and jokes with his teammates! John Scott is the only hockey player in the world who can do this, and it's important because it keeps the guys loose. 

 

IMAGES OF THE WEEK 

1. Justin Williams looks like a kid wearing daddy’s clothes at the Kings’ trip to the White House.

Photo via EPIX screen shot
Photo via EPIX screen shot

2. Tomas Hertl smiling at DJ Nieto is priceless. He looks like he could be Jaromir Jagr’s love child.

Photo via EPIX screen shot
Photo via EPIX screen shot

3. Dustin Brown’s Emo puck statue.

Photo via EPIX screen shot
Photo via EPIX screen shot

MOMENT WHEN NARRATION MAKES HOCKEY FEEL SUPER SERIOUS

After the White House visit, the Kings return to “unforgiving reality” of a losing streak. Last time I checked, being paid hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars to play a game wasn’t unforgiving. And the reality is pretty sweet.

MISSING IN ACTION

Patrick Marleau – where has Mr. Shark been during this series? Also still no Doug Wilson. No Dean Lombardi except for his shot behind the President. Waiting on Anze Kopitar’s dog.

THREE STARS

1. Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks. He seems like a fun guy to hang with.

2. Scott Hannan’s son – or some kid wearing a Hannan jersey. Nice job hitting Thornton in the sensitive areas.

3. Dustin Brown, Los Angeles Kings. For ripping on the leader of the free world, and making puck statues in one episode.

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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