“NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other,” the NBCSN show that has followed NHLers behind the scenes through this winter of outdoor games and Olympic Games, will unveil perhaps its most important episode Thursday: a two-parter focused on the fortnight in Sochi.
Unfortunately for Islanders fans, one key subject of the show will be the season-ending injury to a certain star player with the initials J.T.
“We were there,” executive producer Ross Greenburg said. “Not only there in Sochi when [John] Tavares went down, with interviews before and after, but we capture it on the ice.’’
That only was the start.
“Sometimes you get lucky,’’ Greenburg said. “We had a camera on Long Island that day when he went down and we were shooting Islanders practice. Coach [Jack] Capuano and the rest of the Islanders were there for us [to interview]. It was a devastating injury, but pretty poignant television.’’
The Tavares story is only one element of a production that enjoyed unusual access for an Olympics, and that touched on all of the major teams in the tournament and their NHL stars.
“Every time I turned around, I ran into an ‘NHL Revealed’ camera,’’ NHL COO John Collins said. “I think it’s pretty amazing. I think the guys definitely have tapped into an area that really has been untrampled snow.’’
As well as NBC and CBC chronicle the games at the Games, Collins said, Thursday’s show will be different.
“This will really take you down into the ground floor of what was happening in Sochi across all these NHL players and different teams, which I don’t think anybody has ever seen before,’’ he said.
Surely if the United States men had won the gold medal, Americans still basking in the afterglow would have been more inclined to watch Thursday night. But for marketing and viewership purposes, Canada winning likely was the second-best outcome.
“The gold for Canada certainly helps keep people hooked on the story as they watch these two hours,’’ Collins said, “but it’s almost secondary to the kind of access to star-level players you have in these episodes.’’
Greenburg said all of the key competitors were open to the show. “Team Finland, Team Sweden, Team Russia, they all welcomed us in,’’ he said. “We would have been all right [regardless of the matchups], but this is the icing on the cake. To have Team Canada win it all was very special and to have the semifinal between the U.S. and Canada was very important to us.’’
Greenburg credited “a bulldog of a producer in Alicia Zubikowski’’ for gathering much of the material.
“Early on in the series we knew if we followed the stars, good things would happen,’’ Greenburg said.