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The Malik Report

Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlye and Wings coach Mike Babcock better get ready for their close-ups

I wouldn't normally post this in a Red Wings blog, but Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle and Red Wings coach Mike Babcock may be "brothers in arms" in one respect--now that HBO's released the details of its Winter Classic lead-up coverage, the coaches know that they're going to be protagonists in the series...

And both of the coaches are only participating in a public dissection of their coaching techniques and sharing of some of their trade and scouting secrets because they have to, as Carlyle told the Toronto Star's Kevin McGran:

“I’m just dying for this to happen,” said Carlyle, his voice dripping with irony.

Boudreau, formerly coach of the Washington Capitals, became a bit of a cause celebre for his profane language when the HBO crew filmed the Caps dressing room for the 2011 Winter Classic. So as he prepares for his closeup, Carlyle says he’ll watch his language.

“In the environment that’s created within the room, I hope that I have enough patience and enough wherewithal when those times come to not embarrass myself,” said Carlyle.

I don't think that Babcock's going to five a flying *#$%@& about what people have to say about his *#$%@& swearing, but he has all but literally recoiled when discussing the concept of laying his coaching style plain for international critique.

NHL Chief Operating Offcier John Collins doesn't believe the HBO's 24/7 (which the NHL will also air on Sportsnet in Canada) is a "necessary evil," however...

“It’s become a nice little holiday treat for the hockey fan,” said John Collins, the NHL’s chief operating officer. “It really is a very unique view of the sport and of the players. It really takes the hardcore fan inside the game in ways they don’t get to see all that much. It’s bigger than that, though. Because of the appeal of the players and the way they’ve embraced the series, you often hear casual fans and non-hockey fans drawn to the series.”

More than 100,000 fans are expected in the Big House in Ann Arbor, Mich., to see the Leafs and Wings play in the Jan. 1 Winter Classic.

In the lead-up to the game, HBO cameras will be allowed not only in the back parts of the dressing room that are usually off-limits to everyone but players and staff, but also in the homes and cars of players.

McGran goes into the Leafs' possible "breakout stars," suggesting that Dion Phaneuf, Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak and Joffrey Lupul may star for Toronto. The Wings' players have already stated that they believe Pavel Datsyuk's humor and penchant for practical jokes will delight viewers--I'd also suggest that you're going to be stunned to find out how incredibly intelligent he is--and I'm guessing that Daniel Cleary, Todd Bertuzzi, Kyle Quincey, Niklas Kronwall and Jimmy Howard will all stand out (and I think Daniel Alfredsson's, "Yeah yeah, I'm a hall-of-famer-in-the-making, now let me hold the dang door for you" demeanor is going to be refreshing).

That being said, Collins told McGran that, for better or worse, the coaches' personalities steer the show:

“The format really relies upon the coach,” said Collins. “The coaches end up becoming a major pivot for the series. In the flow of the team, the coach is the conductor, at the centre of everything. Very often, the coach is the central character.”

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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.


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