If you like hockey, sports – or great storytelling in general – you’re in luck. This Friday, “All Access: Quest for the Stanley Cup” debuts on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET.
The series will feature five weekly episodes chronicling teams from the Eastern and Western Conference Finals – the Penguins, Lightning, Blues and Sharks – and, ultimately, the Stanley Cup Final.
“Honestly, it’s about bringing hockey to life,” Showtime Sports Executive Ross Greenburg said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “We have our cameras down low, we have microphones on the coaches, players and refs, and we wanted to bring (out) the real intensity of the game – and nothing is more intense than the NHL playoffs.”
Greenburg, who has won 53 sports Emmy’s, credited Showtime’s cameramen for capturing playoff hockey in all its glory, but ultimately, the players and coaches play the most pivotal roles in the series.
“They (the cameramen) have such trained eyes that they’re just shooting what they normally do, and the intensity is just picked up by the players themselves and the coaches,” Greenburg said. “They just bring it all to life. That’s the beauty of this show. We just have this rich kind of intensity to deal with on and off the ice. So that’s fun. We have the umbrella of storylines of everyone going for that Stanley Cup, which is the most prized possession in sports. Guys work a lifetime for it. It’s hard to describe.”
Greenburg originally pitched the series – which can also be viewed on YouTube, Facebook and NHL.com, among other outlets – to Showtime executive Stephen Espinoza. Espinoza fell in love.
“When I first gave him this as a possible series, he bought it within 30 seconds,” Greenburg said. “He could (see) the vision of what the intensity would be like in a show during the playoffs.”
This series ups the ante of, say, “Hard Knocks”, which follows during the NFL preseason.
“I think the ‘All Access’ sends a tingle up your spine,” Greenburg said. “Viewers just get a kick about being behind the scenes. To be there for the playoffs, it’s pretty unprecedented in sports. The stakes are higher, the tension and the passion of the players and coaches is at a premium, and it’s really turned into something special. . . . This feels new. It’s right in the middle of the playoffs. It just feels different because we’re behind the scenes in locker rooms and listening to the coaches go after their players and intermissions. It’s just a new perspective that none of us have ever had.”