SBD/December 23, 2013/Media

Maple Leafs, Red Wings Tell HBO's "24/7" Cameras To Stay Out Of Locker Room

Combined, the Leafs and Wings have lost 13 of 18 games since HBO began filming

The Red Wings and Maple Leafs both banned HBO "24/7" cameras from their respective locker rooms during games last week, according to Elliotte Friedman of the CBC. Friedman said, “One thing I can tell you is that on Tuesday night, and I don’t think they even realized each other did it. … both teams told ‘24/7’ during intermission, ‘You cannot come in,’ and I believe that is the first time that has happened.” CBC’s Glen MacLean asked Friedman, “Does the league say that you’ve got to?” Friedman said, “Both teams said, ‘Not right now,’ and as far as I understand, there were no repercussions” (“HNIC,” CBC, 12/21). In Toronto, Rob Longley noted neither Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle nor Red Wings coach Mike Babcock "is big on being part of a made for TV special." While both coaches "will have to suck it up through the Winter Classic, whether they like it or not," it is "clear that neither is enamoured" with being part of "24/7" (TORONTO SUN, 12/22). The CP's Stephen Whyno noted Carlyle "had his reservations about the intrusiveness" before the camera crew arrived, "but he has also justified it as part of the deal that comes with being in Toronto." Carlyle said, "It’s not normal what we’re living right now. These people are professional people, they try to make it as easy as possible. But it’s not easy to sit and give a team meeting and have a team meeting with a camera and a microphone. It’s just not normal for us. We’ve never had to do that." Several Leafs players said that they "weren't bothered by the HBO cameras after getting used to their presence earlier this month." Leafs D Carl Gunnarsson said, "They’re pretty good at hiding and staying in the background." Leafs G James Reimer said of the filming, "I think it’s, honestly, worse for the coaches" (CP, 12/21).

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: In Toronto, Mike Zeisberger noted while the first "24/7" episode was "criticized in some circles as being too soft and lacking bite, Episode 2 certainly offered up some zing," as the show is "really starting to heat up." Babcock during Ducks-Red Wings last week kicked the HBO cameras out of the locket room. Babcock, upset that his team was headed for its seventh consecutive loss, said, "Get the (bleep) out of here!" (TORONTO SUN, 12/22). Meanwhile, CBSSPORTS.com's Brian Stubits wrote of Babcock telling the camera operator to leave the team's locker room, "It was a rare restrictive moment for the show that is all about inside access and kind of defeats the purpose of the show to reveal what's really going on inside the team." Nevertheless, Saturday's episode was "compelling, some of the best television the show has produced in this its third season" (CBSSPORTS.com, 12/22).

OBSERVER EFFECT: In Toronto, Dave Feschuk noted the Leafs and Red Wings have "lost a combined 13 of 18 games in a month of December that has seen them surrounded by HBO’s cameras and microphones." However, as much as this season's returns "suggest the cameras are having a negative effect, it’s difficult to build a case that there’s an HBO jinx." There have "certainly been teams that have prospered under the watchful eye of motion-picture-quality lenses" (TORONTO STAR, 12/20).
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