HBO 24/7 And Behind The Bench: Blueshirt Banter Talks To Mike Keenan

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 06: New York Rangers coach John Tortorella watches the action against the Winnipeg Jets at Madison Square Garden on November 6, 2011 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Jets 3-0. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

One of the focal points of the New York Rangers being selected to play in the 2012 NHL Winter Classic is HBO 24/7, an all-access show that gives the viewer an inside look at both the Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers in the weeks leading up to and the Winter Classic itself.

The show itself requires HBO cameras to attend everything from practice, to team meetings, the locker room between periods, on the bench during games and even charity and off-ice events.

Former NHL coach Mike Keenan believes the show is important for fans and the game of hockey.

"I think it's interesting," he said. "It gives the viewership and the audience an inside perspective of what actually goes on with the preparation of a team. The audience get an inside view that they otherwise wouldn't have because of it. From that perspective, we're trying to sell the game and sell aspects of what a game involves, which is something that the fans wouldn't normally get to see."

While it might be nothing but fun for the viewers, Keenan admits that it could be a distraction.

"From the coaching perspective I think it's a little bit of a distraction but when you're focused and you do your job you can block it out," he said.

There's always distractions over the course of a season, be it a winning streak, a record on the line or even looking ahead to a matchup against a rival team when you still have games to play before the date. Keenan doesn't think it's too difficult to block out the cameras, and has actually had some experience with the media being a distraction over his coaching career.

"I haven't done 24/7 but when I was coaching team Canada there was all kinds of access to our national team by our media," he said. "Everyone was pretty much focused on what we were doing anyway. So from a coaching perspective it was kind of like a side bar for us and it was something we had to block out."

The HBO cameras aren't the only cameras on the Rangers' coaching staff either.

John Tortorella and Keenan both take part in a twice-a-month show called Behind The Net which airs on MSG every other Friday. The show discusses hot topics about the New York Rangers, and also goes into detail about coaching strategies and analysis.

Both Tortorella and Keenan both are known as fiery coaches, something Keenan notices from the show.

"Well I see a lot of similarities in John's approach to the game and mine," he said. "They parallel each other. Our personalities are somewhat different, and they always will be since there's no two coaches who coach exactly alike."

Keenan also gets an opportunity to get insight on the game from a fellow Stanley Cup Champion.

"The message that John is trying to deliver is quite similar to the one I used in New York and through my coaching career," he said. "It's interesting, and for me it's been enlightening in the terms of what maybe the successful formulas are."

Also don't forget to check out Mike Keenan's thoughts on being able to coach the Winter Classic Alumni Game!

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