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Some of the same, some different as Road to the Winter Classic prepares to kick off

USA Today's Ted Berg spoke with the producers of Epix' version of The Road to the Winter Classic, and I guess this was inevitable...

In a small, dark room in lower Manhattan, Fritz Mitchell stares at a computer monitor as video editors tap away on computer keyboards, cuing up footage of Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis.

Leonsis, interviewed in an otherwise empty hockey arena, is discussing the progress of his team's most recognizable star — forward Alex Ovechkin — and so animatedly sings the veteran's praises that Mitchell and his crew struggle to find "room tone," the arena's background hum, a note necessary for seamlessly splicing together the highlights of the interview.

"(Leonsis) seems approachable, like a regular guy," says Mitchell, a producer on the fourth season of Road to the NHL Winter Classic, which debuts [Tuesday] on Epix at 10 ET.

"We're going to make him a character," says executive producer Ross Greenburg from a couch a few feet away.

But the fact that Epix' folks claim that they want the players and coaches to "forget the cameras" after the level of--if you'll pardon me for being a blunt Red Wings fan--"embedded" journalism in HBO's 24/7 had become post-Bryzgalov guerilla journalism, i.e., "Let's try to find someone else who's wild" to the point that Mike Babcock and Ken Holland finishing each other's sentences and Todd Bertuzzi drinking beer may have been the most "human" moments of a 247 that had the Wings and Leafs stumbling their way through a December spent trying not to embarrass themselves, or be embarrassed for exploitative purposes:

With a documentary style, a candid tone and a focus on storytelling, Road to the NHL Winter Classic draws obvious comparisons to Hard Knocks, also created in Greenburg's tenure at HBO. The key, he says, is making teams forget the cameras are present.

"You don't want manufactured reality," Greenburg told USA TODAY. "We didn't tell (Capitals coach Barry) Trotz to take his son to the zoo, we just followed him when he did. We don't tell (Blackhawks players Patrick) Kane and (Jonathan) Toews to go to a juice bar in Boston after a practice. They just did it, and we followed them."

Berg continues, and here's hoping that Epix gets the format right again. 24/7 was supposed to be about behind-the-scenes access to human beings who become great characters on their own, attempts to make manufacturered characters and controversy.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: barry+trotz, chicago+blackhawks, jonathan+toews, patrick+kane, ted+leonsis, washington+capitals

Comments

VooX's avatar

Mitchell and his crew struggle to find “room tone,” the arena’s background hum, a note necessary for seamlessly splicing together the highlights of the interview.

Mitchell and his crew are morons.  Standard practice in film and television is to record a minute of room tone following each scene/interview.  Apparently these clowns don’t even know the basics and make life more difficult for themselves than it has to be.

Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 12/16/14 at 12:56 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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