September 9, 2013

Behind the B: Episode 1 review

By Jesse Connolly

Matt Grzelcyk (Charlestown, Mass.) showed off some slick ten-pin skills during the development camp segment of Behind the B on Monday night. (Photo: Dave Arnold/New England Hockey Journal)

The debut of the Boston Bruins' new behind-the-scenes series, Behind the B, aired Monday night on NESN, giving fans a neat, oftentimes revealing glimpse of the goings-on in the locker room, GM's office and beyond since Boston's devastating loss in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Narrator Denis Leary (Worcester, Mass.) served as our tour guide as we ventured from the B's somber dressing room to front office meetings discussing the future of many now-former Bruins to Western Canada for hang-out sessions with Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla, and then back to Wilmington for development camp before wrapping up with a look ahead to the 2013-14 season for the revamped Bruins.

By most accounts, including this scribe's, it was an entertaining hour of television, especially the surprisingly frank commentary from management about Tyler Seguin's flaws and the seemingly-unanimous decision to trade the 21-year-old forward.

Episode observations

- The Big Brother-like cameras apparently positioned throughout the Bruins' locker room have encouraged me to never make small talk with anyone in there ever again, for fear of looking like an idiot on television.

- Asst. GM Jim Benning had some killer quotes regarding Seguin, noting that the team will "miss his speed... during the regular season," and that the Bruins aren't babysitters. I enjoyed those lines so much I laughed and high-fived myself.

- Whoever said something along the lines of "that sound familiar?" and made a subtle Seguin-Phil Kessel comparison also deserves a high-five.

- Here's a recreation of management's reaction to Nathan Horton's agent telling Chiarelli he was done in Boston:

- Loui Eriksson could never be on House Hunters. He didn't make enough obnoxious complaints most of the folks on that show do ("We need seven bathrooms, an ocean view, highway access and a talking refrigerator that will respond to the name Elvis.") during his search for a new place to live in Boston.

- Cam Neely politely and professionally welcomed Eriksson to a real NHL city.

- Milan Lucic seems like a really fun dad. 

- It's amazing that the Bruins have yet another right winger headed to the Hall of Fame on the roster, with Jarome Iginla -- who the cameras paid a visit to after the Lucic segment -- following in the footsteps of Mark Recchi and Jaromir Jagr.

- Spotted a few folks on Twitter who think the Lucic and Iginla segments were lame, or not behind the scenes enough. For the most part, all fans see of players throughout the year is how they fare on the ice and what they have to say during a run-of-the-mill, 20-second clip from a post-game scrum on local TV. If a look at Lucic hanging out with his baby daughter in his Vancouver home, a good 3,000 miles away from Boston, is generic, then clearly very few things in life make you happy.

- One more thought on the topic of the middle of this episode being a little too fluffy: How much more front office material could be rolled out? Yes, Chiarelli and Co. discussing the team's moves was the most fascinating part, but they covered all the bases. What was left? Chiarelli just standing by the phone for the last two months?

- John Whitesides' performance tonight automatically puts him in the top 10 for all-time scariest reality show stars. The B's training guru was an absolute hard-ass when instructing the prospects on how to act like professionals and during the F-bomb-filled, so-intense-I-nearly-peed-myself-on-these-poor-kids-behalf workouts. 

- Whitesides mentioned a willingness to "put your balls on the line" was vital to becoming an NHLer. I'd like to imagine that when the cameras panned away, things went something like this:

- Matt Grzelcyk is a great defenseman, but he might be an even better bowler. Pretty sure I saw the Charlestown, Mass., native throw two strikes during development camp fun time. Malcolm Subban's ten-pin game was lacking.

- Anthony Camara is one intimidating dude. Forget about him stealing a job. Someone's gonna take one look at that guy and say, "Here! Take my job! Please! Don't hurt me. You can have it!"

- Tuukka Rask dresses pretty fashionably for his golf outings. His brother Joonas is a terrible caddy.

- This week's episode was pretty fantastic, but I have a feeling that once the players are back in town and we see more locker-room footage and the like, this show will get even better.


Twitter: @JesseNEHJ