HBO’s 24/7 continues to be awesome. The worst “calling in sick” excuse ever. And the best Ping-Pong shots of the year

So Wednesday night was Episode 2 of HBO’s incredibly fabulous series “24/7, Flyers vs. Rangers,” which HBO did last year as well but with different NHL teams.
Basically, it’s a four-episode documentary series chronicling the daily life of the two hockey teams chosen to play in the annual Winter Classic outdoor game on Jan. 2. Last season it was the Capitals and Penguins, and HBO’s 24/7 look at them was such a massive hit with fans and in the ratings that they decided to do it again this year.

As a Rangers fan, of course, I was especially pumped to see the behind the scenes stuff. As a former hockey writer (though I only covered minor league teams), I can tell you that hockey players are some of the funniest, strangest athletes I’ve ever been around, and what many of them lack in intelligence they make up for in personality.

Two episodes in, and 24/7 has been great. We’ve seen Rangers coach John Tortorella swearing at his team one minute, then tenderly discussing his friendship with a 10-year-old Rangers fan who has cerebral palsy. We got to see an in-depth look at how a team deals with a player’s concussion, with the Flyers’ Claude Giroux.
The behind the scenes stuff is truly fabulous, and in last night’s episode we got more of the zaniness of Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov (see his thoughts on the Universe above at :30 of the clip), some great on-ice audio during a fight involving the Rangers’ Mike Rupp, and of course some super slow-motion hockey highlights that HBO does so well.

I totally wish this could be a series HBO does for a whole season. If you haven’t seen it yet, the 24/7 episodes are all on HBO on demand. Check it out even if you’re not a hockey fan; I guarantee you’ll be hooked.

**I have to give this guy points for creativity. A Brookville, Pa. factory worker named Scott Bennett needed an excuse to skip out on work recently. So he placed a fake obituary about his mother in the local newspaper, and showed it to his bosses.

Sadly, the ruse was up when it was discovered by the employer that his mother was still alive, when the employer called the funeral home listed to ask how to send flowers. Shockingly, the funeral home had no idea what he was talking about.

Bennett has been charged with disorderly conduct, because being a schmuck and a terrible son aren’t things you can be arrested for in Pennsylvania.

Ah, Scott. Hope that unemployment check covers your shame.

**Because I feel confident I’m the only blog today writing about both Ping-Pong and hockey, I give you these four minutes of coolness. The top 10 Ping-Pong shots of the year, though frankly given that none of them involved banking a shot off the basement hot water heater, I think my best shots from childhood are better.

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