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Players impressed by '24/7' -- and agree Bryz a star

by Emily Kaplan
NEW YORK -- Most of the talk at Madison Square Garden this afternoon is focused on what's at stake in tonight's game.

A regulation win by the Rangers and they would take an Atlantic Division lead into the two-day holiday break. The loser of the game will take a chip on its shoulder to the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 2.

But it's hard not to ignore the elephant in the room -- or rather, the big, clunky cameras. After the morning skates, both the Flyers and Rangers were asked their opinions of the HBO crews following them around and the first two episodes of 24/7.

"I think a few guys have watched it here and there," Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk said. "But we've been on the road each time, one time in Western Canada, so it hasn't been an option to watch it."

Van Riemsdyk said he hasn't seen an episode, but plans on catching up later when he has time. He has received feedback, though.

"I heard Bryz is the star of the show," van Riesmdyk said, smiling as goalie Ilya Bryzgalov walked by his locker. "That's been the overwhelming critiques on the show that I've gotten."

Bryzgalov, who usually doesn't talk to reporters on game days, didn't comment. However, he did tell reporters he was stopped in New York yesterday by fans who recognized him from the show.

Rangers forward Erik Christensen hasn't watched yet, either. He doesn't have HBO at home and figures he'll catch up on the show later. But Christensen has heard rumblings in the locker room "every now and then about what has gone on."

"But mostly everyone's just talking about Bryzgalov," Christensen said. "And how funny he was."

Flyers forward Scott Hartnell, meanwhile, has seen snippets of the first two episodes -- and he's impressed with what he saw.

"It's incredible what they do and all the footage they take all day long and how they piece it together," Hartnell said. "It's really neat."

His teammate, Jaromir Jagr, agrees that the show is a unique inside perspective from inside the locker room. Jagr isn't particularly fond of the cameras following him all the time -- "When I was 20, I probably did. But I'm 40 and I like my privacy," he said -- however, he understands that it's part of the business. Jagr said he hasn't watched the show yet, but likes the concept.

"Let the fans know what type of players [we] are, what [we're] doing before the game, what [we're] doing during the off days," Jagr said. "It's good for hockey."
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