January 24, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Referees break up a fight between Colorado Avalanche left wing Jamie McGinn (11) and Columbus Blue Jacket center Brandon Dubinsky (17) during the first period at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Who On the Columbus Blue Jackets Would Steal HBO 24/7?

This past Saturday, the best part of the NHL’s Winter Classic aired on HBO. Of course I am talking about NHL 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic. Not only is it a beautifully shot and edited documentary series, but it also offers a look inside the locker room at the different personalities that make up each team taking part in the Winter Classic. This year’s featured teams are the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings.

It is unlikely that we will see the Blue Jackets featured in the Winter Classic anytime soon, as the NHL seem content with rotating between their usual group of Original 6 and big city East Coast teams. However, maybe some day Columbus gets a shot (we have the venue!) and we get to see the HBO cameras follow the Blue Jackets around.

But, let’s pretend HBO took a sudden interest in the Blue Jackets and decided to feature the team in a 24/7 style documentary series. Which players / team personnel would steal the show? Who would win the F-Bomb count? The following is my Top 5 list of Columbus Blue Jackets who I’d like to see on NHL 24/7.

Nov 17, 2013; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Nick Foligno (71) in the second period against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

5. John Davidson / Jarmo Kekalainen

I’ll rope these two together. While it’s the players that usually take center stage on 24/7, the behind the scenes looks at the front office are something I find really interesting on 24/7. Who wouldn’t want to see what a typical day is like for the President of Hockey Operations and the General Manager? An unfiltered look at the front office during trade deadline and the draft would be especially interesting. We saw a little of this in the Fox Sports Ohio special on the Blue Jackets draft ( “No, we’ll keep the pick!”), but we’ve never truly seen how Jarmo and JD work together to build and shape this franchise. I’d also like to hear from John Davidson on how the “brick by brick” culture change was hashed out and implemented.

4. Nick Foligno

One of the big parts of 24/7 is the players’ life off the ice and I think Nick Foligno could offer great perspective into juggling the roles of a hockey player and the father to a newborn, especially when someone at home isn’t 100% healthy. As most Jackets fans know, Foligno and his wife just had a baby girl at the end of October. There were some health complications that kept Foligno out of the lineup, but thankfully, it appears that things are better now. As fans, we tend to focus on stats and on-ice performance, and we forget that these guys are regular human beings with families and  experience many of the same daily life concerns we do. Foligno is one of the most energetic and likeable players on the ice ( “BOBROVSKY!!!!”), so he easily makes my list of players HBO would have to follow.

3. Nathan Horton

Yeah, I know he hasn’t played a single shift in a Blue Jackets uniform, but I think Horton’s road to recovery from his shoulder surgery would have to be something HBO would cover. We get the daily progress reports, but we don’t often get to see the hard and painful work players put in to get back into hockey shape after a big injury / surgery. I would also be interested in seeing how Horton deals with being the big free agent acquisition / new guy in the room, while also having to watch the team struggle and succeed from the press box. Off the ice, Horton and his family’s move to Columbus would be an interesting aspect as well.

2. Boone Jenner / Ryan Murray

The two rookies and how they are adapting to the NHL level of play would be a very interesting story to approach. The Columbus Blue Jackets are the youngest team in the NHL, with few veterans to help guide the younger team members. I’d like to see HBO compare and contrast the way both players made it to the NHL (Jenner playing up through Junior and the AHL) and Murray who went right from Junior to the NHL. In previous 24/7’s we have seen older players mentoring the rookies, so it would be interesting to see who takes on that role for the Jackets.

1. Brandon Dubinsky

If there is one player on the Jackets I want mic’d up on ice, it’s Brandon Dubinsky. Just from reading lips on the Fox Sports broadcast, you can tell his on ice language is colorful and most likely hilarious. He gets into enough scraps to get some good trash talk, but also is one of the key components to the Jackets offense. He is also the fan favorite to receive the captaincy, so how he is viewed in the locker room would be quite insightful. Does Dubinsky rally the players behind the scenes? Do they look to him for guidance when things aren’t going well? Dubinsky always seems to say the right things during interviews, but what is he like “off the record” with just the HBO cameras watching?

For now we will be left wondering what a Blue Jackets 24/7 special would be like, however, Fox Sports has given us looks behind the scenes before. Maybe some time in the future they will give us something similar (unfortunately censored) to a 24/7 documentary series. Last year the Cleveland Browns were featured on a Travel Channel behind-the-scenes series called “NFL Road Tested”, so it isn’t uncommon for non-marquee teams to get picked up for a special. Or maybe some things are better left unknown and the distraction caused by 24/7 would have a negative effect on the team. I bet Ilya Bryzgalov wishes the 24/7 cameras were never sent his way.

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