Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New York Hockey [Print without images]

Thursday, December 29, 2011
24/7: Episode 3 winners and losers

By Mike Hume

Apologies if this post was a little delayed. It's hard to type when images of painted-on red jeans are still seared on your retina. Please heed the usual disclaimer that the rundown is based solely on how things were perceived during the latest episode of "24/7," not their actual value as a player, person or walking fashion faux pas.

Winners

Torts: John Tortorella is rapidly earning "winner" emeritus status. Another slate of succinct, fiery dressing room speeches, a brief interlude with Ryan Callahan to review strategy between periods -- all in a day's work. A year ago, Pittsburgh Penguins bench boss Dan Bylsma began to earn some momentum for a potential Team USA head coaching gig thanks to his strong performance in front of the "24/7" lens. I don't think it's far fetched to think Tortorella could enjoy a similar stock boost. And he's already more ingrained in USA Hockey than Bylsma.

Ryan Callahan: It's easy to watch Callahan on the ice and talk to him in the locker room and get caught up in the serious approach that defines his game. After glimpsing his "winning" outfit at the ugly sweater party, it's clear Cally knows how to have a few laughs as well. As much as anyone can be a "winner" while dressed like a holiday Hobbit, Callahan lands in the W column. Another impressive note: No batteries powered that sweater; Callahan actually radiates energy. And you thought it was just a metaphor ...

Bryzgalov's child-devouring husky: Last episode Ilya Bryzgalov clued in North America that his husky was like a beautiful, blonde, blue-eyed woman. In Episode 3 we got a glimpse of the legendary beast. While the "Baywatch" casting call is probably out of reach, it was entertaining to watch her try to devour Little Bryz.

Claude Giroux: Jaw-dropping performances after returning from a concussion are all the rage this season, and Giroux's four-point night in Dallas was enhanced given a pair of factors. First, it clearly seemed like he was a little hesitant about his status when he was speaking with head coach Peter Laviolette prior to suiting up again. He apparently overcame that uncertainty in a hurry once he hit the ice. Second, his sense of humor after starting the game minus-one was pretty fun to see.

Mike Rupp: "You're irrelevant out here," the Rangers' tough guy quipped to Jody Shelley when the Blueshirts battled the Flyers. "If you had any impact on the outcome of the game, I'd f---ing go with you." I choose to believe this is what they meant in "Braveheart" when they said, "they fought like warrior poets."

Losers

Ronald Reagan ... er ... Peter Laviolette: For about a week the hockey world was looking forward to seeing more of what sparked the confrontation between the Flyers' bench boss and Dallas Stars forward Steve Ott. Well, we still don't know and Laviolette's only action was to play dumb about it, thus allowing Ott to provide the only meaningful commentary ("Show some class and wait for the team to go"). With his actions, his response to Ott ("Go f--- yourself") and his lack of candor to the press, Laviolette just came off looking like a jerk.

Communication gear: It seems that the tech company that provides the communication system for the NHL's video review room is the same one contracted to install the PA systems in most public schools. Hockey Ops VP Mike Murphy must think he's constantly talking to Charlie Brown's teacher.

Tom Sestito: I understand that Sestito was trying to get under the Rangers' skin, but he could really use a thesaurus or something to help him with his taunts. Just saying, "I'm going to bash your face in," over and over again doesn't really do the trick. On the other hand, Brad Richards' rebuttal to the little-experienced Flyer is precisely what we're looking for as viewers. "What do you have, like, one NHL game?" Richards jabbed. "This must be like fantasy camp for you."

Red jeans: If they ever had a chance to make a comeback outside the Williamsburg hipster scene, this episode just ended it. Un. Savory.