Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Noel not a fan of NHL reality TV series

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IT'S a television hit, an inside look at the daily workings of a National Hockey League team.

But if Claude Noel has any say in the thing, the cameras from HBO's 24/7 hockey series would never set foot in the Winnipeg Jets dressing room.

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It's not that HBO has come calling or anything, but their hit from last season -- which featured Washington and Pittsburgh and a pile of F-bombs from then-Caps head coach Bruce Boudreau -- is once again proving to be fascinating viewing with the Rangers and Flyers the featured clubs this year.

"I don't know if it's old school or what it is, I'm not a reality TV guy," Noel said when asked Friday what he thought of the show.

"I would really have a hard time in dealing with cameras being in areas where I would not feel comfortable. And I would really not want the players to think that I'm coaching for the camera. That would really bother me.

"I don't know how I would respond to it and I don't feel real comfortable there," he added. "I just put myself in the players' position and I often think that I wouldn't want to be sitting as a player thinking 'are you talking to us, or are you talking to the show?' That would really bother me. I like to just have an up front, honest relationship with the players where we deal with us as a group and that's where I like to keep it. It's just not my thing."

Noel, for the record, did say he is a fan of the show. Same goes for Pens' head coach Dan Bylsma, who did participate in the show last year.

"I'm glad it was the Pittsburgh Penguins," he said Friday. "I'm glad it was our team, our players, our organization."

LIFE WITH BUFF: Here's Tobias Enstrom, discussing what it's like playing with defence partner Dustin Byfuglien:

"You've got to really enjoy playing with him. He's one of the top defencemen in the league and he can really surprise you. He keeps me on my toes, too.

"I like the way he plays. He tries plays all the time, but that is stuff you can't take away from his game, that's what makes him one of the top Ds in the league. I'm glad to be playing next to him."

FESTIVE SPIRIT: Bylsma was wearing a colourful Christmas sweater under his suit coat Friday night, coming through on a promise he made to his team if they were to beat the Blackhawks the other night.

Asked one reporter when the Pens' coach was sporting it after the morning skate: "Did you keep the receipt?"

LITTLE UPDATE: Centre Bryan Little did not skate or play on Friday and is doubtful for the next game on Dec. 27 in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche. Little injured his foot when hit by a shot from teammate Johnny Oduya. There are no broken bones.

"He hasn't been on the ice for awhile," said Noel. "We're just going to have to wait to see how he goes when we get back from the break. I'm not sure he'll be available there, either. It's pretty tender."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 24, 2011 C2

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