COMMENTARY | Reports surfaced late Saturday, December 21, that both coaches Mike Babcock and Randy Carlyle kicked the HBO cameras out of the locker room during their games in which both teams lost.
Of course, I wanted to see it for myself before I started forming an opinion on the subject. After watching the second episode of HBO's 24/7: Red Wings Maple Leafs: Road to the NHL Winter Classic, it was disheartening to see Babcock aggressively kick the cameras out of the locker room between periods as his team was getting throttled by the Anaheim Ducks.
That's what makes 24/7 so great is the access that no other cameras get. Now you're telling me if a coach doesn't want the cameras around, all he has to do is tell them to leave and they have no choice?
That's not fair to the fans or to the league.
The fans want an inside look at their team, and the NHL wants to reach out to new fans. How can you grow the sport if you're limiting access?
Luckily, the audio of the Carlyle rant was picked up, and it was everything I had hoped it would be. No holds barred screaming and ranting like a coach should when his team isn't performing.
"We suck!" Carlyle screams at one point. Yes you do coach, yes you do.
I don't pretend to know the details of the contract between HBO and the NHL, but it would be surprising if there wasn't something in there saying they have the right to film almost anything they want and whenever they want.
The league and the teams get to review the episodes before they air so if something completely egregious came up during the locker room rant, it could be edited out. But to simply kick the cameras out because you're upset with your team is downright silly.
Plus, it makes the coaches look childish. As if they only want to be filmed when they are winning, but the moment things get tough and aren't going their way, they don't want any part of this process.
I want to see heavy fines from the league for both teams. Adhere to the rules like the four other teams have done before you and worry about your own team.
If coaches have free-reign to kick out cameras whenever they feel like it, one of two things is going to happen. Either HBO will stop making these documentaries because they aren't getting the access they were promised, or the show will become dull and boring because any possibility of enticing entertainment will not be shot.
- After my rant of Babcock, I will say I liked the remark he had about his 16-year-old daughter being ready to play amidst the rash of injuries the Red Wings currently are dealing with. At least he can show some sense of humor, even if it might be for the cameras.
- With that being said, too much focus is on Babock and not the players. Brendan Smith and Justin Abdelkader got a little TV time, but most of it is dedicated to Babcock. Side note: I liked Abdelkader's ribbing of Smith when the two witnessed a truck sliding on the road and Abdelkader said to Smith "Looks like you on the ice."
- The table tennis game between Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel was intense. When do they have the time to get so good at table tennis?
- Pavel Datysuk got some camera time in the form of the interview. I'm hoping there is more to come as he has a great personality that would shine on camera. Maybe now that the Red Wings have won a couple games, he'll come out of his shell.
- The theme of last episode was losing is the only way to get better, and it was more of the same in episode two. There isn't a whole lot HBO can do with two losing teams, but they are doing the best with what they have.
- Phaneuf and Sidney Crosby jawing at each other on the ice: priceless. Especially when Crosby says "I don't even hit anybody." Hope we see some of that jawing between the Red Wings and the Maple Leafs. That's a good way to set the stage for the Winter Classic.
Tom Mitsos is a Michigan native who writes about the Detroit Red Wings for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He also co-hosts a Red Wings Podcast called The Octopod, and is a high school sports reporter at MLive Media Group. You can follow Tom on Twitter.
- Sports & Recreation
- Red Wings
- Mike Babcock
- Randy Carlyle