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The Malik Report

Red Wings grin and ‘bare’ it for their HBO 24/7 close-up

For better or worse, the Red Wings and Maple Leafs will be making their HBO 24/7 debut tomorrow night at 10 PM EST (there are alternate showings over the following week, and the program will air on Sportsnet on Sunday evening), and while I don't plan on dissecting the program (the Wings happen to be playing tomorrow night, on Saturday the 21st and on Saturday the 28th, so writing up "recaps" of both the games and super-detailed breakdowns of the programs...Other people do the latter, I do the former), I'm certainly going to be as "glued to the screen" as most of you will be tomorrow evening.

As the Wings possess a 2-2-and-2 December record and have witnessed the return of Pavel Datsyuk from a concussion and the losses of Henrik Zetterberg, Darren Helm, Jimmy Howard and Stephen Weiss to injuries, whatever narrative HBO concocts for tomorrow's hour-long program will probably seem a little too familiar to Wings fans, and DetroitRedWings.com's Andrea Nelson spoke with several of the team's "protagonists" (as it were) about living under HBOs' prying eyes:

“It’s not like I’ve been waiting for this day to come. It’s not like that. It’s going to take some time,” [Jonathan] Ericsson said of the cameras. “I was talking to Smitty (Brendan Smith) about something (video games) and I just stopped talking. That’s just how it feels right now. But from what I’ve heard from other players that have been in the ‘24/7’ they told me that after a few days they really don’t think about them too much. They’re there all the time and there’s really nothing to think about. Hopefully it’s the same for us.”

Although the first few days of filming were challenging, the players have grown accustomed to the cameras, it’s only a matter of time before they forget the record button is on.

“They really start to be themselves,” said Bentley Weiner, the coordinating producer for the HBO series. “Our goal is to have them not realize the cameras are there. That’s really our goal, to blend in.’’

...

“It’s a mix,” Weiner said of the show’s content. “We always document a couple games during the week, we don’t show every game. We want to show some practices, some off the ice stuff with the players, with their families. We love road trips, seeing the guys on planes, seeing them in their hotels rooms, out for dinners. If you remember the Rangers last year they played a game of credit card roulette in Buffalo. All those little gems make for great TV.’’

HBO visited Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson and his family at their Oakland County home last Sunday, chronicled one of coach Mike Babcock’s daily runs around Joe Louis Arena, clipped wireless microphones to 2-3 players during the month’s numerous practices and 13 games for exclusive footage. The film crew also accompanied the Red Wings on two road trips to New Jersey and Florida, and although they capture every moment possible, there are times when the camera stops rolling.

“Private moments,” Weiner said. “We respect a moment, if there is a moment between a coach and player that’s private, but for the most part we’ve been lucky the past two years. We try to blend in as much as we can. They hardly notice we’re there. That’s how we get great material.’’

Nelson continues, and her article's more than worth your time.

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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.