The first episode of EPIX Road To The Stadium Series debuted tonight and it’s my job to bring you the recap!
Before the episode officially began, EPIX introduced a Coors Light Cold Hard Fact.
Harsh but accurate.
The first two minutes of the episode were an homage to hockey in California that appear to have been written by the California Office of Tourism. The title sequence felt like a combination of a Bond film, The OC and something from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Predictably the show quickly addressed the matter of the Sharks historic playoff collapse against the Kings in last years playoffs and featured a cameo by our favorite GIF of all time!
This will be far less amusing when the Kings miss the playoffs.
One of the great things about these kinds of shows is the opportunity to learn a little bit about the players we all idolize. A chance to take a peek behind the curtain and see who they are and how they behave when the spotlight is off. So far one thing is abundantly clear: The LA Kings are too cool for school.
Look at ‘em! Sittin’ all backwards.
Even Brent Burns wanted to get in on the backwards sitting fun!
Sadly for him, we caught a glimpse of his “car” in this episode and nobody will ever confuse Brent Burns for “cool” again.
At first I just assumed the Sharks used this massive vehicle to transport Burns in a giant cage but it turns out they’ve trained the Man-Beast to not only play hockey but also to drive, speak AND write!
One of few reasons I don’t enjoy programming like this is that it forces me to realize that the players on teams I hate are actually real human beings. Not only that, they appear to be incredibly nice human beings. Brent Burns, for example, has a beautiful family that he seems to love very dearly. He’s also an animal nut. As in, he owns “more than 300 snakes, a couple monitors, bearded dragons, chameleons, some frogs, geckos, birds and a big Koi pond.” As near as I can tell the “bearded dragon” is a real animal and not just a joke at Burns’ expense.
Burns evidently takes his family to the zoo in every town they visit.
The best part about Brent Burns visiting a zoo on @EpixHD’s Road to the Stadium Series is that the animals get a chance to look at him.
— The Royal Half (@theroyalhalf) February 4, 2015
I saw it as just another excuse for the hockey media to talk about the Penguins.
(Brent Burns loves jokes about Penguins.)
The behind the scenes footage from the All-Star Weekend was amazing.
The Great 8s debate
Whether it was Darryl Sutter encouraging players to only worry about scoring, Anze Kopitar mock groaning about another faceoff against Patrice Bergeron or Doughty’s perpetual giggle-laugh, the whole sequence provided plenty of golden moments. However, the true star of the episode was the man who stole the show at All-Star Weekend: Chris Sutter.
We had seen his coaching behind the bench during the All-Star Game, but now we saw how he operated in the locker room.
We also got a glimpse of some of those not selected to one of the All-Star Teams. Joe Thornton, former Sharks captain, went fishing in Cabo San Lucas. Ultimately, just as in his hockey career, Joe Thornton had to stand back while others lifted their trophies.
Being out on the open sea really changes a man. Into a zombie.
All in all a great first episode filled with fantastic in game footage, enlightening interviews and more Coach Sutter F-Bombs than I could keep track of. We got a fascinating look into the training and rehabilitation methods used for inured players like Tanner Pearson and a glimpse at how Joe Pavelski gets ready for the post season.
EPISODE 1 GRADE: A
…since the Sharks have 4 of those, but still no “C”
Gif of the Game
If you enjoyed that, you can check out The Royal Half’s recap in podcast form here.