Wednesday night's HBO lineup featured the beginning of the network's preview of the 2012 NHL Winter Classic, which will feature the Rangers and the Flyers.  It is a documentary that will closely and completely follow the teams in their lead up to hockey's biggest regular season event.  

The HBO series gives fans a unique and intensely all access look inside the locker rooms, games, and minds of these teams.  Players and coaches are routinely mic'ed during games and practices, and frequent interviews provide a look never seen in sports.  If you are a fan of either team, the series is appointment television.  If not, you should still check it out, the all access nature of the show is such a stark contrast to what we're normally shown that it bears viewing.

The first installment of this season of 24/7 followed the Flyers through a winning streak, while the Rangers muddled through a few tough games and one win.  Three things leapt off the screen to me in the documentary's first five minutes.  First. Brandon Prust is a freaking man.  The opening monologue of whatever legend does HBO's voiceovers featured several Prust fights.  Glorious.  Second.  Steve Eminger takes the subway to work. Really?  We can't get the dude a cab?  Third.  There's a lot of swearing in hockey.  Like.  A lot.  In one mid-intermission rant Ranger coach John Tortorella let the f-bomb fly roughly half a dozen times.  That's leadership people.

Wednesday's episode also featured the astrophysical rants of Flyer's goalie Ilya Bryzgalov -  to say nothing of his musings on Tigers - a game of credit card roulette to settle the Rangers' dinner tab - with ultimate losers Henrik Lundqvist and Jeff Woywitka - and Ryan Callahan's spirited 95 year old grandmother.  HBO also offered up great mid game audio from both teams, including the full force of the Rangers' ire with the referees.  This episode can be found on HBO on demand.  The series will be renewed Wednesday night at 10:00 on HBO.