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Stanley Cup Final

Arrival of HBO's '24/7' cameras turns up spotlight on struggling Leafs

Wednesday, 12.04.2013 / 4:05 PM / News

The Canadian Press

TORONTO - Cameras from HBO's "24/7: Road to the Winter Classic" have arrived to film the Toronto Maple Leafs just in time to document a team in turmoil.

The Leafs have lost five in a row and are dealing with a barrage of injuries while navigating a brutal stretch of the schedule.

Raw emotions will be caught on tape given the invasive access the cameras have to players and coaches at and away from the rink.

Coach Randy Carlyle, winger James van Riemsdyk and defenceman Mark Fraser wore microphones during Wednesday's practice, and others will as the taping continues.

Cameramen followed Phil Kessel into the locker-room after he left the ice with an injury, showing just how little the Leafs will be able to keep secret.

But there's also the possibility that the extra boom microphones and cameras inside the locker-room and meeting rooms provide some level of levity to a struggling group.

Fraser wondered if players providing some entertainment for the show would get them to loosen up a little bit.

That could be a byproduct down the line. For now, players are just trying to get used to their new reality.

The show debuts on HBO in the United States Dec. 14 and on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada Dec. 15.

It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery