Drenching rainstorms like this one we’re having on the east coast tonight remind us of the storm we drove through in South Africa’s Addo Elephant National Park — in the middle of the night, with ranger Headman Nogaya mic’d up. The only difference was thunder, elephants… and lion. Plus lots of eyes in the dark. For everyone heading off to sleep tonight to the sound of rain, here’s a 4-minute bedtime story (and a slideshow) from our archives…
A snapshot from 6:29pmET, Tuesday 9/28/2010. Alex Ovechkin stands in the locker room hallway that leads to the tunnel, that leads to the ice. We can’t see him, but we imagine him there: shifting his weight from blade to blade, fresh with impatience and possibility. He stands there through the safety announcements and the welcome music, and perhaps he listens for the clatter of a pile of pucks hitting the ice for warm-ups. When the doors at last swing open, he leads his team with a dozen quick steps across the blue matting, past the stick rack, over the bench, and out onto the ice. As in past seasons’ warm-ups, he wears no helmet. He skates between the circles, flips a puck onto his stick, and flings it - sure and hard - into the back of the net. Then, still moving fast, he goes down on one knee, Cossack-dancer style, and in a sliding arc comes to rest in front of the boards on the blue line. Where he spends a full minute leaning forward in his familiar froggy pose: face down, leaning on his elbows, knees bent out to each side. Stretching and bouncing like he’s about to leap the lilypad. The coaches file onto the bench in dark suits; rock music pulses through the jumbotron; fans steady their cameras and ready their high-fives. Ovi stands up, twists his torso left and right a few times, rolls his shoulders, and skates into the drill. Five months to the day since he stepped (dejected) off this ice, Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals step (determined) back onto it. Pre-season hockey. The road opens up; the long hill comes into view.
We’ve just posted “Hockey Diaries: The Almost Season” to our listening site at www.mediachameleon.org. Length is 59-minutes, and you can listen to it online or download it as an mp3, whatever works for you. We’ve also added a bunch of audio clips for each player – six each from Mike Knuble and Tyler Sloan, the two main storytellers in the piece. (Just too many stories, moments and memories to fit into the documentary itself!)
If you have any questions or suggestions for Hockey Diaries, post them here on our blog, or just DM us on twitter (@mediachameleon) and we’ll get back to you. Thanks for listening.
Thanks to everyone who listened last night, and to the audience members who came to the listening session at the XM Sirius studios in DC. It was great for us to be able to listen with you, and we learned a lot from all your comments and questions. If you didn’t catch it, we’ll post the full hour-long documentary as an mp3 on our listening site www.mediachameleon.org by the end of this weekend.
But first, this morning, it’s back to the recording gear. We’re starting work today on the next season of Hockey Diaries, and we can’t wait to get started. Follow our progress here…
Hello! Just a quick note tonight to confirm where you can listen to the “Hockey Diaries: The Almost Season” premiere on Friday, September 10. From 7pm-9pmET, Sirius XM host Glenn Younes will present the hour-long documentary, discuss “the-making-of” with various special Caps guests, and take questions from a live studio audience and from callers on the phones. Here’s how to listen:
Live on satellite radio: NHL Home Ice on XM 204, Sirius 208
Live online stream on NHL.com
After September 13, you can visit www.mediachameleon.org to listen or download an mp3. (The 2008-2009 season documentary, featuring Brooks Laich and Karl Alzner, is what’s there now. Plus bonus audio and photographs.)
We’re excited that “Hockey Diaries: The Almost Season” will debut for NHL Radio this Friday night, September 10, at the XM studios in Washington DC. It’ll be on XM204, and on NHL.com — the hour long piece, bookended by some Q&A discussion with both of us producers (sorry!) and others still TBA (much more interesting!). 7pm-9pmET. We’ll tweet (@mediachameleon) and post here as soon as we have the details confirmed. Hope you’ll get a chance to listen somewhere and let us know what you think…
AUDIO: A Hockey Diaries extra. In a diary entry on April 22, 2010, Tyler Sloan relives the foggy night that saw the Caps’ plane sitting on a closed runway in Baltimore, after returning from a Game 4 win against the Montreal Canadiens. Listen for a surprise appearance from #8…
AUDIO: Washington Capitals forward Mike Knuble reflects on the missed opportunities of the Caps’ past season, what this means to him as a veteran player, and what he thinks will happen in 2010-2011 (recorded in May 2010)
So… it’s September. And our 2009-2010 Hockey Diaries piece hasn’t aired yet (sorry @stonyglenrider, we missed your birthday month!). But the good news is that we *do* have an air-date confirmed now. Please help spread the word… "Hockey Diaries: The Almost Season" will premiere on Friday, September 10, on NHL Radio. And on some public radio stations after that. As soon as we have details about air times (and where to listen online if you miss it live), we’ll post that info here. Tonight we’re delivering the final mix, plus some short promo clips, to the NHL Radio team. We’re sitting here listening to the mix one last time before we ftp it. It’s funny how, with anything creative, there are always 1,000+ ways to write or sculpt or paint or mix or frame something, right? So many different directions that you can go in... And no matter how many hundreds of hours you spend on trying to get something just right, you always think back about what you could have differently. But it’s done, and it’s a strong story, told by passionate people, and there are thoughts and scenes and sounds that we hope will connect you with the story when you listen – whether you’re a Caps fan, or a hockey fan, or just a sports fan. We’re looking forward to hearing your feedback. We’re also going to post some bonus audio and photographs here on our tumblr each day from now until Sept 10, so please keep checking back often… and let us know what you think!