Getty ImagesNEW YORK – With six games in five different cities, the NHL has gotten ambitious with its outdoor hockey events this season. So the League has decided to do something equally ambitious on television to build hype around them – and the Sochi Olympics in 2014.
“NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other” is a new hour-long, 7-episode series on NBC Sports Network in the U.S. and CBC in Canada that will follow nine teams in the NHL’s stadium series – the New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators (in the Heritage Classic) – before, during and after their outdoor games.
“NHL Revealed” will focus on the stadium series, while “HBO 24/7” returns this season to focus on the Winter Classic featuring the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.
The show will bounce from team to team following the storylines of individual players, all of whom are expected to compete in the Sochi Olympics. When the NHL shuts down and the Winter Games begin, cameras will follow those players to Sochi and capture their Olympic experiences. (Since the series is shared between rights holders, that means Olympic game footage on the show.)
The players announced so far as the show’s focus: Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Henrik and Daniel Sedin, John Tavares, Henrik Lundqvist and Jonathan Quick.
Think of the show as a PG-rated “HBO 24/7” with a player focus, a super-hyped version of last season’s “NHL 36” that aired on NHL Network. The coaches, so essential to the HBO show, won’t be featured on “NHL Revealed.” But the look of it is expected to mimic “24/7” as that series’ creator, Ross Greenburg, is behind “NHL Revealed” along with former CBC TV exec Julie Bristow.
This sounds … awesome.
It might be hard to balance several narratives at the same time, although the show will focus on the Los Angeles and New York games before Sochi and then the Soldier Field and BC Place games after the Olympics. But the potential is there to bring added context to the outdoor games and the Olympics, and bring us closer to some tough-to-crack NHL personalities (looking at you, Mr. Tavares) than ever before.
Especially in Sochi. 'HBO 24/7'-esque NHL show in Sochi? Yes please.