HBO’s 24/7 program has been a success as far as reality television shows go, but don’t expect Winnipeg Jets’ coach Claude Noel to participate in it anytime soon.
Noel made it very clear Friday that he wants no part of HBO’s hockey program, which follows the two NHL teams playing in the league’s annual Winter Classic outdoor game. This year’s show is tracking the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers.
“I don’t know if it’s old school or what it is, I’m not a realty [TV]guy,” Noel said when asked Friday if he would like to be part of the show. He didn’t stop there.
“I would really have a hard time in dealing with that part of cameras being in areas where I would not feel comfortable,” Noel added as warmed up to the topic. “And I would really not want the players to think that I’m coaching for the camera. That would really bother me. I don’t know how I would respond to it and I don’t feel real comfortable there. I just put myself in the players position and I often think that I wouldn’t want to be sitting as a player thinking 'are you talking to us or [the camera]or are you talking to the show'. That would really bother me. I like to just have an up front, honest relationship with the players where we deal with us as a group and that’s where I like to keep it. I’m not in to [realty TV]very much. I’m not into it at all. It’s just not my thing.”
Noel added that he enjoys watching the show, but that’s all he wants to do.
One coach who has participated in the program is Dan Bylsma of the Pittsburgh Penguins who are in Winnipeg to take on the Jets Friday night. HBO featured the Penguins and Washington Capitals in last year’s show.
“I’m glad it was the Pittsburgh Penguins,” he said Friday when asked if he enjoyed being in the program. “I’m glad it was our team, our players, our organization.”
But he added: “I have no interest in being in realty TV shows.”
He did say that he wouldn’t mind if the Penguins participated again, saying it was great TV. “I’m just not sure I’m going sign up for realty TV. You’re exposed every day which is not always a great feeling.”
As for the game tonight, the Jets are coming off a 4-0 thrashing of the Montreal Canadiens Thursday at the MTS Centre while the Penguins’s last game was Tuesday when they beat Chicago 3-2.
Noel plans to start Ondrej Pavelec in goal, making it three starts in four nights for the goalie. Noel said he made the decision largely because Pavelec wasn’t too busy Thursday, stopping all 27 shots he faced.
The Jets have beaten the Penguins already this season, winning 3-2 on Oct. 17 at the MTS Centre. But the Pens were without Evgeni Malkin that game. Malkin is back and on a tear, piling up 15 goals so far this season and 24 assists. That includes six goals and 16 points in nine games in December.
“He’s playing all over the ice,” Bylsma said. “He’s playing defensively, in the face off circle, power play wise. He’s been dominant taking over games, particularly the last two weeks. He’s been at another level all over the rink.”