Real Sports: Despite Lokomotiv tragedy, Russian hockey teams still using second-rate planes

Saturday afternoon, NBC showed a terrific documentary, Lokomotiv, on a Russia town’s efforts to rebuild after a plane crash that killed players and coaches in 2011.

Tuesday, the latest edition of HBO’s Real Sports (10 p.m. ET) has a follow-up from Bernard Goldberg that suggests the tragedy could happen again.

Here’s a clip:

The write-up from HBO:

Hockey’s Darkest Day. On Sept. 7, 2011, Russia’s Lokomotiv, one of the premier hockey teams in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), boarded a Soviet-era Yak-42 jet at a Yaroslavl airport to travel to a game in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. A few moments after lift-off, the chartered aircraft crashed about 500 yards from the runway, instantly killing 43 of the 45 passengers, including several NHL and Olympic Games veterans. The model of the aircraft carrying the team had a long … Continue Reading

DVR alert: Strong HBO Real Sports stories on marijuana use in NFL; heartbreaking bond between Boomer Esiason and Frank Deford

Real Sports always has quality stories, but tonight’s show (HBO, 10 p.m. ET) is especially compelling. It begins with Andrea Kremer’s report on marijuana and the NFL. The piece documents how players use pot to deal with the pain of playing such a brutal sport.

Kremer’s report makes the case that the NFL is wrong for banning marijuana. She shows the players still use it anyway.

From the story:

ANDREA KREMER: Is it something that’s talked about in the locker room?

CHRIS KLUWE: It’s not like, you know, there’s  the smoker’s corner where everyone goes– (laugh) and talks about, you know, “Hey what strain did you smoke last night?” It’s more you know,  guys will be talking and be like, “You know, yeah I got– you know, I smoked a bit last night and, yeah, it—did help me feel better.” … Continue Reading

HBO’s 24/7 on Winter Classic: Will anyone from Detroit-Toronto rival Bruce Boudreau?

After a year’s absence due to the player’s strike last year, HBO is back with its all-access series, 24/7 Red Wings/Maple Leafs: Road to the NHL Winter Classic. It debuts Saturday at 10 p.m. ET.

The series has been extremely popular, thanks largely to former Washington coach Bruce Boudreau’s affinity for the F-word. Here’s a reminder of vintage Boudreau.

Sean McIndoe of Grantland previewed this year’s cast.

(Pavel) Datsyuk appears to be the current odds-on favorite to emerge as the star. While he has never seemed like an especially outgoing character, teammates say he’s funny and engaging once you get to know him. He’s already one of the league’s most popular players — or at least one of its least-hated — so 24/7 could take him to another level.

And there’s a good chance it will; Datsyuk is the perfect

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New HBO documentary reveals parents at worse in pushing kids in sports

This new HBO documentary from Peter Berg is one of the most chilling and unsettling films you ever will watch about sports.

State of Play (Wednesday, 9 p.m. ET) documents parents going overboard in trying to turn their children into superstar athletes. Trust me, what you see in the trailer is a just a fraction of the abuse these kids take from their parents.

These parents are so over-the-top, you almost think they must be actors. It doesn’t seem possible that an actual parent would act that way in front of cameras. Do they not know how bad they look?

There is a segment where a parent berates a young football player with his former wife driving the car. It was so difficult to watch that I eventually had to fast-forward through the passage.

Following the film, Berg does a … Continue Reading

Real Sports to air 200th show: Outstanding sports journalism on often unconventional subjects

Congratulations to Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on its 200th show tonight. That’s no small feat in an age where you’re fortunate to get 10 shows.

Real Sports launched in 1995 and shows no sign of letting up. It has consistently delivered among the best in sports journalism on a variety of subjects, conventional and more often not. That holds true for the 200th show.

Here is preview of Bernard Goldberg’s report on the upcoming Olympics in Sochi. “A festival of corruption,” according to a Russian critic.

Here’s the rundown for Tuesday’s show:

Now in its 19th season, REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL, TV’s most honored sports journalism series and the only sports program recognized with a prestigious 2012 George Foster Peabody Award, presents more enterprising features and reporting when the show’s landmark 200th edition, … Continue Reading

Icons: Real Sports on Reggie Jackson; NFL Network examines life of Pat Summerall

A couple of sports icons get examined tonight.

Bryant Gumbel has an interview with Reggie Jackson on the latest edition of Real Sports (HBO, 10 p.m. ET)

A Football Life: Pat Summerall (NFL Network, 9 p.m. ET)

The rundown:

As a player and broadcaster, Pat Summerall’s football life spanned more than 50 years. His passion for sports encompassed 82 years. His voice is eternal.

NFL Network’s Emmy-nominated series A Football Life continues Tuesday, October 22 at 9:00 PM ET with a profile of Pat Summerall – the voice of the NFL.  The one-hour special chronicles Summerall’s transformation from an athlete to broadcaster and details the personal battles and professional challenges he endured along the way.

After a successful career in the NFL as a kicker and with a little luck and a lot of talent, Summerall would fall into … Continue Reading

Your next Hard Knocks team: 49ers; Harbaugh says he is open to doing series

Jim Harbaugh definitely will be getting a call from HBO and NFL Films during the off-season.

From Taylor Price of 49ers.com:

Jim Harbaugh likes to keep things close to the vest.

But that doesn’t mean the 49ers coach is against his team being featured on NFL Films’ “Hard Knocks” reality show.

“If that’s something we were in position to do, then we’d certainly do it,” the 49ers coach said on Wednesday.

And more.

He also understands that the popularity of the show will keep it around for a long time.

“There’s going to be teams that are going to be on ‘Hard Knocks’ and that seems like a popular thing and something people want to see,” Harbaugh said. “So, I don’t see it going away. You could stamp your feet and say I don’t want to do it, but I

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A 12-year-old’s memories of sitting next to Marty Glickman: “I would have let you call the 3rd quarter”

As I wrote earlier this week, HBO is airing a new documentary, Glickman, on Monday at 9 p.m. ET. It is a terrific film about one of the legendary voices in sports history. And there’s much more to the story that involves encounters with Antisemitism.

An old friend, Mike Leiderman, shared a story of a wonderful experience he had with Marty Glickman. Mike is a long-time Chicago journalist, sportscaster and producer. He runs his own media firm, Leiderman Productions.

Leiderman, though, grew up in New York. At the age of 12, he attended a memorable Knicks game.

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The quick story: My uncle Joe had a contact somehow and I got to sit next to Marty when he did a Knicks-Minneapolis Lakers game from the old 69th Regiment Armory in NY in the mid ’50s. I must have … Continue Reading

New HBO documentary: ‘Glickman’ finally places legendary announcer in national spotlight

My latest National Sports Journalism Center column is on Glickman, the upcoming HBO documentary on Marty Glickman. I had a chance to talk to the film’s producer, James Freedman, who worked for Glickman when he was 17.

For those of you who never heard of his story and his obstacles with Anti-Semitism, read on. And I highly recommend you watch this film.

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When I was coming up as a sports journalist in Chicago during the 80s, I only had a vague notion of Marty Glickman. I always had heard he was an iconic, trend-setting pioneer in sports broadcasting.

Yet in the days before cable and satellite radio, I had no real idea of why New Yorkers held him in the same reverence as they do in Los Angeles for Vin Scully, or why he was considered one of … Continue Reading