Unless the place you call home happens to be under a rock, you most likely tuned into HBO's presentation of 24/7 Flyers-Rangers: Road to the NHL Winter Classic, tonight. Since last year's version featuring the Penguins and Capitals gave us such a great look at the various personalities on each team, we here at THS decided to install a little weekly feature following each episode of 24/7.
Much like the three stars awarded to the players following each NHL game (unless it's an Islanders home game, when the three stars are automatically given to the three unfortunate souls that actually attended), we will honor three people who we felt had the best performance on each episode!
No. 3: Wayne Simmonds-RW, Philadelphia Flyers
Now, if you watched the episode you might automatically assume I'm choosing Simmonds because of the work he did with inner-city children down at the local ice rink. HA! Nope, I'm choosing Simmonds for one reason and one reason only: HE TOOK OUT CLAUDE GIROUX! Don't get me wrong, I will never ever wish injury on any player in the NHL because I respect the game too much, but damn, getting Giroux off the ice was great for me that week I was playing him in Fantasy!
No. 2: Artem Anisimov-C, NY Rangers
I have to say, this one was biased from the get-go. The moment we decided to install this "Three Stars" segment, I immediately knew I was slipping Anisimov's goal celebration against Tampa Bay onto the list. It didn't matter what else happened on the episode; someone was getting bumped for this. Yes, if I was on Tampa I also would have wanted to kick his ass so hard that Pavel Bure would have felt it all the way in Moscow. However, his explanation to his teammates that he wasn't shooting at Tampa's goalie Mathieu Garon, but merely "reloading his weapon," coupled with Sean Avery and Brandon Prust's faces as they walked into the dressing room where he was waiting in between periods, made it even better.
Also, Brandon Dubinsky and Anisimov's arguing inside the penalty box following the melee that broke out after the celebration, was also priceless!
Finally, we come to the No. 1 star of the show... drum roll please...
No. 1: Ilya Bryzgalov-G, Philadelphia Flyers
I've never done mushrooms in my entire life, but, if I were to ever want to embark on that crazy journey, I would make sure that the Flyers netminder is right by my side to take the trip with me! We've all heard the stories over the years about how NHL goalies are some of the weirdest and strangest dudes on the planet, but Bryzgalov took that to a whole other level during the premier episode of 24/7.
Whether it was his rambling rant on how the solar system and universe amazes him, only to be capped off with a "don't worry, be happy," or his lesson on Chinese laws on the murdering of Tigers; Bryzgalov absolutely stole the show tonight.
Well, that's it folks. The show is shaping up to pick up exactly where last year's left off, which can only mean one thing: Four amazing weeks of entertainment before the Winter Classic!