The Montreal Canadiens weren’t the only reason there were a few more cameras around the Blackhawks’ Friday morning skate.
Friday is the first day Epix crews are embedded with the Hawks for Road To The NHL Winter Classic. Through Jan. 1 when they face the Washington Capitals at Nationals Park, Epix crews will be around the Hawks for the four-part series.
The extra guests don’t seem to bother the Hawks, who are used to having a few different sets of eyes on them.
“I think after a day or two guys will feel pretty comfortable. It’s something we can embrace and enjoy and I think in the end it will be fun for the fans to see the whole lead-up to the Winter Classic game,” Jonathan Toews said. “It’s been fun to watch in previous years – the two teams that kind of develop a storyline going into that game, so it definitely hypes it up quite a bit.”
Marcus Kruger had a pretty good idea of who one of the stars will be. Hint: it’s a guy with a number in the 60s who likes shin pads and has been known to say some interesting stuff.
“I try to stay away as much as I can, maybe. Some other guys over there maybe like it more than me,” Kruger said, gesturing toward Andrew Shaw’s stall. “They can be the stars of the show, for sure.”
The show, which was on HBO for its first three incarnations before moving to Epix this year, promises unfiltered access to the teams and has produced some memorable moments. Some of those moments are probably ones teams would usually like to keep away from public eyes, but Hawks coach Joel Quenneville won’t be changing how he or the team operates.
“Business as usual. We’re not going to change our approach, whether it’s preparation-wise or whatever. It’s part of the process,” Quenneville said. “We’ve been exposed to a lot of those situations in playoffs and big moments. Shouldn’t be any different than how we go about our business.”
The first episode airs Dec. 16.