HBO’s 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic made its triumphant return on Wednesday, showing an inside look at the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers as they prepare for this year’s Winter Classic.
Last year’s episodes following the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals prepare for their outdoor showdown drew rave reviews from many, and this year’s debut was eagerly anticipated by hockey fans everywhere. It did not disappoint.
HBO began earning its sports reality show bona fides in 2001, when the network aired its first season of Hard Knocks. That year, the show followed the Baltimore Ravens and has given great insight into how NFL franchises ever since. The New York Jets were particularly entertaining, with Mark Sanchez earning the ire of the defensive coaches after an ill-advised prank.
Their 24/7 series also began garnering attention with a close look at opposing boxers preparing for an upcoming bout. Such series focusing on boxers like Manny Pacquiao helped generate tremendous buzz for their matches.
In a similar vein to Hard Knocks, Showtime created The Franchise, a baseball-themed look behind the scenes of the San Francisco Giants, who were in the midst of defending their World Series title. Closer Brian Wilson stole the show with his crazy antics.
And of course, Ilya Bryzgalov‘s wonder at the size of the universe was as endearing a moment as you’ll find on this year’s hockey edition of 24/7.
Don’t worry, be happy indeed.