Share This Page

Rossi: Time is now for NHL Films

The HBO camera crew wasn't around this past week, and hardly was a void felt.

This is to the credit of those cameramen who made Pittsburgh their home in December. Fears from the mainstream media that HBO's cameras would cause problems couldn't have been more foolish. From this reporter's perspective, it was like those cameramen weren't even there with the Penguins at home, on the road or anywhere else.

They were, of course. As the four episodes of "24/7 Penguins-Capitals: Road to the NHL Winter Classic" showed brilliantly, the camera crews that immersed themselves with two NHL teams captured countless hours of delightful behind-the-scenes footage.

Most of it was left on the floor by editors and coordinating producers at a production studio in New York. Those editors, producers and camera folks are getting a deserved breather now.

If NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is smart — and the feeling here is that he's the shrewdest commissioner among the four North American pro sports leagues — he will start calling all of those HBO people to offer them jobs.

The time for a first-rate NHL Films is now, because the success of "24/7" showed that the want of people — regular people, not just die-hard hockey fans — is expertly executed specialty programs such as what HBO churned out the past four weeks.

Oh, and more access.

Nobody does more with access than HBO, except for perhaps NFL Films — the company most experts have credited with helping football become America's national passion. Well, passion and hockey go hand-in-hand, as everybody had a chance to see during "24/7."

The NHL needs to continue capturing that passion — and not wait until next December with presumably another Winter Classic-themed "24/7" series.

HBO showed hockey like it had never before been seen to most Americans, the audience the NHL needs to convert positive buzz into a bigger imprint on the U.S. sporting landscape.

An NHL Films made up of some of those HBO employees that made "24/7" sizzle would help with that conversion.

Rob Rossi, in his fourth season covering the Penguins, shares some of the scenes unique to a traveling beat reporter.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.