Clichés   4 comments

I just watched a video preview for the HBO tv show that will follow the Caps and the Pens on and off the ice as they prepare for the next Winter Classic. We don’t really often get a chance to see that much footage of the teams off the ice (besides the players interviews and stuff like that), so I was kind of hoping for some stuff that would surprise me a bit, or at least change from what we usually are shown.

Well so much for that. I was struck instead by the amount of clichés used in that 12 minutes preview. Granted, that was just a preview, and HBO has a target audience that is not limited to hockey fans (luckily for them I guess…), so it was expected that they would rely on those clichés. But still, it made me think about how hockey is ALWAYS portrayed in the exact same way on tv documentaries and shows that don’t focus immediately on the day to day coverage of the game results.

THE biggest hockey cliché

Every single time, these will include the following (sometimes in that order, but not necessarily):

- some kids playing outdoor hockey while the narrator pontificates about the roots of the sport

- a player skating, stickhandling, and/or shooting pucks at an empty net, alone in a dark and empty arena.

- a mention of the Stanley cup as the “ultimate prize”, the “hardest trophy to win in all sports”, or the “holy grail”

- close-ups on the grimacing faces of guys lifting weights in the gym (because you need to do that to get that cup)

- shot of players jumping out of the bench in slow motion, in a darkened arena

- MULTIPLE close-ups of guys lacing their skates, taping their sticks, putting their shoulder pads on, and sharpening their blades (because sparks look great and it’s just like someone sharpening a sword, which fits well with the usual “soldiers preparing for the battle” lazy analogy that the narrator usually used at that point)

- the camera following players walking in the corridor from their dressing room to the ice (with muted sound of the crowd cheering in the background)

- shots of fans cheering in the stands or waiving playoffs towels

- at least one slow motion shot of a puck bouncing on the ice, presumably during a face-off

- a series of bodychecks (half of which are actually charging penalties) filmed from the behind the glass, while the narrator lazily explains how tough players are

- a toothless player grinning on the bench because hockey players are not only tough, they’re also crazy goofy guys

- a brutal fight

- a coach going Playfair behind a bench

- a few classic highlights (crazy looking goals generally, and maybe a big glove save)

- a pile-up of players filmed after a team wins a playoff series

And I’m sure I’m still missing some… I find it a bit sad to see hockey so often reduced to these clichés. I think it has much more to offer than that, no matter how nice and flattering some of those images are.

If you can think of any other clichés I missed, leave them in the comments!

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Posted December 9, 2010 by Grrrreg in Uncategorized

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4 responses to “Clichés

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  1. I’m pretty sure you got them all. Except for the slow, sad head drop of a player that’s just been scored on/lost the game. But that’s just being picky :)

    I read Paris is shut down due to snow fall. Are you hanging in there? Do you need and flashlights or non-perishables? If I send them out today, they should get there by next Wednesday!

  2. Ooh that’s a good one too!

    And yeah, we’re pretty pathetic: a few centimeters of snow (and I’m not kidding, we got no more than 5cm yesterday) and the whole city is shut down! Luckily I was working at home yesterday, so I just went out a bit to walk around and enjoy the snow. But yeah, for people with cars, that was a mess! :P

  3. LOL @mcguffers sending you food. In Paris they’re always looking for an excuse to miss work!

    They want it to be the most epic game, so they have to use these cliches! without them, you’ll never know that hockey is tough or that it’s played on ice with skates! When a player is looking down, then looks up and stares of into the distance, that’s how you know he is going to try hard! And when the camera pans through a locker room to see the names on hanging jerseys, it helps you understand that they’re a team! Essential stuff, man. Talking to players about hockey won’t cut it, we need the slo-mi visuals

  4. Hehehe, I won’t comment on your “looking for an excuse to miss work” remark! :P

    And I can’t believe I forgot the panning shot of the jerseys hanging in the locker room…. Good one!

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