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HBO 24/7 - Episode 3


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All the episodes are here -> http://www.hockeyforums.net/index.php/videos/category-51-hbo-247-2011/

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Winter Classic Q & A with NHL's '24/7' architect by Tim P

A year after the NHL lockout ended, Commissioner Gary Bettman hired John Collins away from the NFL and entrusted him with the unenviable task of growing the league’s business ventures, particularly in the U.S.

As bad as the economy has been through the past two presidencies, under Collins, NHL revenues have grown 147 percent, while operating profits have risen 160 percent. No easy task.

Collins, 50, is also the man primarily responsible for the league’s unprecedented 10-year, $2 billion U.S. rights deal with NBC, which was a major reason why the NHL was named Sports Business Journal’s Sports League of the Year in 2010 and Collins was named “Executive of the Year” by American Business Awards.

To partner with HBO’s wildly-successful “24/7” -- which Flyers fans have been enjoying for weeks now as a prelude to the Winter Classic -- was Collins’ brain child, an idea rooted in his years as a programming executive at NFL Films.

CSNPhilly.com caught up with Collins recently for a quick Q&A on this year’s Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park between the Flyers and Rangers.

CSNPhilly: What do you attribute the growth of the Winter Classic to, in terms of a special event?

Collins: The atmosphere is incredible. It’s the authenticity of outdoor hockey. Fans are given the opportunity to tailgate around a regular-season game. NBC provides a “big event” presentation through the production of their broadcast. The fans love it, players want to play in the Winter Classic, and sponsors want to be involved. It’s a week long – or in some cases – month-long celebration of hockey. With alumni games, community skates and the "24/7" cameras following both teams leading up to the game, the Winter Classic grabs the attention of avid hockey fans and piques the interest of general sports fans.

CSNPhilly: What is it about this event makes it almost the NHL’s version of the Super Bowl?

Collins: The Stanley Cup Final is our Super Bowl, but in just five years the Winter Classic has made its mark as an annual tradition on the North American sports calendar – and that is rare for a regular-season game in any sport. One thing the Winter Classic has in common with the Super Bowl is that it is a celebration of the game and regardless of who your favorite team is, you still want to be a part of it.

CSNPhilly: What role has HBO's "24/7" played in making this event take off and making it more mainstream America, which is hard to do with hockey?

Collins: The HBO producers are among the best storytellers in television and there are always interesting storylines with our teams and players. HBO has been a great addition, not just for the Winter Classic, but also for hockey in general. It exposes the sport and our players to a new audience, while bringing our most passionate fans deeper into the game. There is no doubt that our players are some of the best guys in sports, and getting to see their personalities on a national stage is fun to watch. You never know who is going emerge as the breakout star of "24/7." They are warriors, and seeing what it takes day in and day out to be a professional hockey player makes for great TV.

CSNPhilly: What do the television ratings suggest?

Collins: HBO was very pleased with the ratings to last year’s first installment, which exceeded their expectations. Beyond ratings, the buzz around the show is strong. Awareness is high and people are consuming highlight clips and following the storylines online. It’s a water-cooler show for hockey fans and becoming one for all sports fans.

CSNPhilly: Given last year’s nighttime audience, why not move the game to evening?

Collins: Last year was special under the lights, and it’s not something we’ve ruled out. We’ll continue to work with our broadcast partners and teams to see what windows are available. This event has definitely evolved over the years – this year the Winter Classic is on Jan. 2 for example. It could be at night in the future, but we also like our 1 p.m. time slot as well. It works well around New Year’s Day when big numbers of sports fans and families are watching TV.

CSNPhilly: Jan. 1 is a holiday, but people are back to work on Jan. 2. Do you project lost viewership given some people will still be working that day and unable to watch?

Collins: Jan. 2 is a holiday in the U.S. and Canada, so most people still have the day off.

CSNPhilly: What did the NHL and NBC learn from the 2003 Heritage Classic that was passed on to the Winter Classic?

Collins: Credit is really due to Patrick LaForge and the Oilers for executing the original outdoor NHL game. While pond hockey predates us all, what the Oilers accomplished with the Heritage Classic showed us the possibilities of how an event like this could drive huge interest from fans, players and sponsors alike. The Oilers had the original vision and did a great job executing the game in a way that made it memorable.

CSNPhilly: What has the Winter Classic done for NBC in terms of its national TV contract with games?

Collins: The Winter Classic had been a great launching pad for the NHL season on NBC for the past four years and NBC has done a great job with the production and storytelling of the game. And this year, though we started our national broadcasts on Thanksgiving Friday, VERSUS is flipping the switch to NBC Sports Network around the Winter Classic. It speaks volumes to their commitment to hockey.

CSNPhilly: Where does Comcast’s influence fit in all of this?

Collins: Comcast is present through our broadcast partner and through the Flyers in this game. They are part of every discussion in some way or another, and have been great partners for the past seven years.

CSNPhilly: Any surprises in this year's telecast?

Collins: The biggest element of surprise with the Winter Classic is the unpredictability of the weather. We’ve played the game in all kinds of conditions, which adds to the drama of the game. We’ll all find out on Jan. 2 what’s in store for this year’s game.

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Laviolette's Flyers Rangers intermission speech:

Scoring chances that period were seven to one. For the opposition. Do you know why, Hartsy? Cause it's about as f*ckin' casual as it gets. As casual as it gets. In Boston we said, 'alright, it got mixed into the schedule, let's turn the page.' Somebody tell me what the f**k is the difference now? What's the problem now?

I wanna see people rip their heart out of their f*ckin' chest this period, and if ya don't, you're probably not gonna like your ice time. Take your first shift, you'll get it. Earn the second one. I'm not puttin' up with it. It's too much horse sh!t. It's oo much. Don't allow it.

D-zone coverage? Soft down low. Out to the points, casual strides. We don't wanna block a shot, 'cause it hurts. One game Boston, alright let's move on. Tonight? Unacceptable. Not gonna happen. We're way better than what we just showed, every guy in here knows it, and you should not accept it. Don't.

You got twenty minutes. You win a period, you win a game, we move on. But you need to dig in right now. Every guy. Enough is enough. Start playing with some jam in here. Let's go.

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Love when Giroux beat Ott in that faceoff.

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=KvQrAXIDTTQ&vq=medium#t=15

GIROUX: Are you taking this faceoff?

OTT: I'm fifth in the league.

G: At what?

OTT: At faceoffs, look at NHL.com.

G: You are?

OTT: You're a good player, you're doing well--

G: I never said you were bad.

OTT: I'm fifth in the league, so I'm probably gonna win it right here. K?

G: *slight giggle* Alright.

[whistle blows, puck drops, Giroux wins faceoff, Flyers score]

howevver..........Steve Ott is currently #10 in face off wins.

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http://www.youtube.c...&vq=medium#t=15

GIROUX: Are you taking this faceoff?

OTT: I'm fifth in the league.

G: At what?

OTT: At faceoffs, look at NHL.com.

G: You are?

OTT: You're a good player, you're doing well--

G: I never said you were bad.

OTT: I'm fifth in the league, so I'm probably gonna win it right here. K?

G: *slight giggle* Alright.

[whistle blows, puck drops, Giroux wins faceoff, Flyers score]

howevver..........Steve Ott is currently #10 in face off wins.

If Giroux said that to just about anyone but Ott (or Avery) I'd think he was an arse. But that is freakin hilarious right there.

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@hf101 - "...fifth in the league...at what?"

That was f'ing priceless. Best part of the whole show for me. Who the h3ll talks like that anyway?? I love how G was so nonchalant about it - all he asked was if he was taking the next faceoff-!

Ott may have been 5th in the league in FO's, but he might as well be #1 in douchebaggery % after that game. The funniest thing is that the Flyers absolutely dominated Ott's team & made him look like an even bigger idiot, if that's at all possible.

(OT, anyone notice how Avery has all but disappeared from the show?? Santa was listening!!)

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generally I'm not a fan of looking back - and lord knows we've all trashed Bryzgalov's play many times already ...

but Part 3 has angles from the Rags' game that weren't televised that night, and that Callahan goal just eats me alive - that night, and now, after seeing this angle.

take a fresh look at it - about 42 minutes in - the angle is on-ice, from Bryz's left.

The guy looks "lost" - "stupid" - "nonchalant" - He also looks like he couldn't care less.

I don't know which one it is but it's one of them.

[edit: You know what? Don't take a "fresh look at it." It's only going to piss you off. Del Z's shot hits him, bounces to his feet, Bryz with the half-ass stick wave...Coburn and Kimmo, 2 pretty good defenders...watch in stunned amazement I guess as Bryzgalov simply lets Callahan have the puck. Unfrrkn-real... Ya, don't watch it again.]

Edited by canoli
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It was also kind of funny when I think Prust told Sestito that he was in fantasy camp because he was only up with the team for a day. It was a pretty good burn.

Sestitio played like he deserved to be there though.

Jody Shelly is irrelevant though.

that is pretty funny. The Flyers need to remove Shelley and insert Sestito with whatever plans they had for Shelley's role. He's a much better skater/player (though that probably isn't saying a whole lot) is cheaper and jut as big if not bigger. I haven't seen him fight too often but from what i've seen it looks like he can handle himself pretty well

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