Rangers, Flyers Coaches' Differences Apparent In HBO's "24/7"
Two episodes into HBO's "24/7: Flyers-Rangers: Road to the NHL Classic," the contrast between Flyers coach Peter Laviolette and Rangers coach John Tortorella "is evident," according to Sam Donnellon of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS. Donnellon writes, "Maybe it's provincialism talking here, but Tortorella seems to be playing to the camera, and clearly has a bigger potty mouth. Every night is a panic attack, it seems, and I can only imagine how these guys are going to react to him by Game 60." Two episodes in, he "has mocked several of his players, and called them out as if there were one period left in their season." Laviolette is "reserved in comparison." His message is more about "how good they are and all they have to do is play hard." Maybe his "tirades and calling outs are still to come, but for now, he's a better-sounding coach." But Donnellon notes then there is the "other Tortorella, the ambassador, gentleman and friend to 10-year-old Liam Trainer, a child with cerebral palsy whom he befriended through the Rangers' 'Garden of Dreams' program" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 12/22). In N.Y., Pat Leonard writes seeing "both sides of the coaches was a major highlight of Episode 2, which turned its focus to hockey and the gritty details of the game." Attention was "paid to the concussions of Marc Staal, Claude Giroux and Chris Pronger, plus an inside look at the work of the officials, with referee Tim Peel telling the Rangers: 'I don’t want any ---- after the whistles.'" Leonard: "What we’re waiting for now is more from [Flyers RW Jaromir] Jagr, a personality and star who has played for both teams" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/22).
HITS & MISSES: ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun writes the "highlight of Episode 2, for me, has to be John Tortorella's frenetic rant after the first period of a loss" to the Blues. Tortorella "gets it on, steam coming out of his ears." LeBrun notes the lowlight "had to be the way the show dealt with Chris Pronger's bombshell news from last Thursday." LeBrun: "The show dropped the ball in my mind. It's understandable that Pronger wasn't available, but what about showing some kind of behind-the-scenes clip where Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette breaks the news to the team after their win over Montreal?" It is "important to note that both teams have the right to keep material out of the show on final edit." So if it is "indeed the Flyers that didn't want that private chat with the team about Pronger to be included, then you can't blame HBO" (ESPN.com, 12/22). YAHOO SPORTS' Greg Wyshynski writes "if anything, Episode 2 suffered by focusing too much off the ice." Wyshynksi: "It's not that the material wasn't compelling; it's just that the most candid and honest material is always going to emerge from the action on the ice and in the locker room -- as the episode's two classic coaching rants about effort and officiating (respectively) prove" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 12/22).