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Home Ice

Zetterberg, Howard injuries tough on Red Wings, but gold for HBO's 24/7

By Allan Muir

The timing couldn't be worse for the struggling Red Wings.

Goalie Jimmy Howard is dinged up. Stephen Weiss is out indefinitely with a groin injury. And leading scorer Henrik Zetterberg, suffering through a herniated disc, has been moved to long-term IR to create roster space for third-string goalie Petr Mrazek, a move that ensures the star forward can return to action no earlier than Dec. 28.

And maybe worst of all: Detroit is coming off back-to-back losses to the lowly Panthers.

MUIR: Howard may miss Winter Classic, Olympics

This exactly isn't the image the proud Red Wings franchise wanted to showcase on HBO's 24/7: Road To The Winter Classic. Their star turn on major cable seems like it will be more akin to showing up for picture day with a black eye and couple of missing teeth.

But while Detroit might be stumbling toward its Jan. 1 meeting with the Maple Leafs in Ann Arbor, the injuries could be gold for the producers of 24/7.

"The nature of reality TV is you follow reality," says Heather Muir, cast producer for The Bachelor Canada and Big Brother Canada (and, for the sake of full disclosure, my wildly successful kid sister).

"You report on events as they reveal themselves," she says. "I never say something is good or bad until after the experience has occurred, but it is more story to follow."

Injuries, she said, are part of the reality of hockey, just like a girl catching her hair on fire at a cocktail party is the reality in the world of The Bachelor. It's another story to tell, and it makes for more compelling TV.

"You can expand on it," she says. "How is the player dealing with it? What is the impact on his family and his teammates? You just want to follow the truth of it."

The new 24/7 series debuts this Saturday at 10 p.m. ET on HBO in the U.S., and on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. in Canada on Rogers Sportsnet.

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