NHL Revealed show to spotlight Olympic hockey
Special will have an off-ice look at Canadian star Sidney Crosby
It's been a frantic few days for the producers of the NHL's latest reality show.
The Olympic hockey tournament only wrapped up when Canada beat Sweden for gold on Sunday and a two-hour special episode of NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other is scheduled to air Thursday night on CBC (8 p.m. local, 8:30 p.m. NT), and NBC in the U.S.
That didn't leave much time to put finishing touches on the behind-the-scenes look at the Sochi Games.
"We're under the gun," executive producer Ross Greenburg said in an interview this week. "We worked 18 days of pretty exciting hockey on and off the ice."
As viewers of the 24/7-style of sports shows have come to expect, it will be more than a simple recounting of who won the games and how the goals were scored.
And this one does not focus on one or two teams, but nine squads that had NHL players taking a break from the regular season to play for their countries.
Greenburg said there will be off-ice looks at Canadians Sidney Crosby and Drew Doughty, among others, and also peeks of the U.S. team that looked dominant through its first four games and then got toppled by Canada in the semifinals and beaten by Finland in the bronze medal game.
There will be a spot with Teemu Selanne and his wife as he became Finland's scoring hero in his final Olympics.
There's even an inside look at Anze Kopitar and Slovenia's surprisingly strong showing at the Games.
On the less pleasant side, there is coverage of the season-ending knee injury suffered by New York Islanders John Tavares in a game against Latvia, as well as footage back in New York of the Isles' reaction to losing their captain.
Two film crews in Sochi also got special access to Canadian and U.S. practices, with players and coaches wearing microphones as they go through drills. Cameras were only shut down if coaches were going over a particularly secret part of their game strategy.
"We were really embedded," said Greenburg.
It took months to line up approvals needed to make the film, from the International Olympic Committee, the NHL Players' Association and the various national hockey federations.
NHL chief operating officer John Collins said the North American TV rights holders CBC and NBC played a critical role in getting co-operation with the project and getting the IOC and other parties on board.
The NHL Revealed series running this season also has seven one-hour episodes based mainly on outdoor games like the Winter Classic and the Stadium Series.
"It gives fans an opportunity to get to know the players better and see how special they are," said Collins. "The players are such good guys.
"There are so many people, particularly in the United States, who can't relate because they haven't grown up playing the game, so to be able to see who they are, especially with the backdrop of the Olympics, gives fans a chance to connect."
He said another source of drama comes from players who are NHL teammates going against one another with their national teams. They will then show Olympic teammates playing against each other again back in the NHL in future episodes.
"It creates wonderful opportunities to tell stories," he said.
The episode will also be aired Sunday night on Rogers Sportsnet.