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February 7, 2003 - Documentary gets close to Wings
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Friday, February 7, 2003

Documentary gets close to Wings

Red Wings uncensored

What: "The Season, The Detroit Red Wings"

When: 8 p.m. Sunday, ESPN

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DETROIT -- The Red Wings are continually under the watchful eye of reporters, TV cameras and sound guys.

But an ESPN documentary, airing at 8 p.m. on Sunday, captures the Wings in a new light, thanks to rare, virtually unlimited access.

"The Season: The Detroit Red Wings" is a fascinating look at the team, filmed during the first half of this season.

More than 100 hours of film were shot in the locker room, on the team plane, on the road, in Sergei Fedorov's Ferrari, even in players' homes, and reveal the inner workings of the team.

"Getting it narrowed down to only two hours (the second hour airs May 8) was a challenge," said Michael Antinoro, ESPN's senior coordinating producer. "We got access that normally isn't available. It's very interesting what the cameras captured.

"We were able to make the guys feel very comfortable, to the point where we were the fly on the wall and not noticed."

Players were miked during games and in practice, giving a rare view of what goes on.

Former coach Scotty Bowman and current Coach Dave Lewis also discuss the team.

The ESPN crew is still filming, with the May 8 segment focusing on the second half of the season and the Wings' drive to the playoffs.

Sunday's edition of the documentary, narrated by actor Kiefer Sutherland, follows a few story lines:

* General Manager Ken Holland working the phones to acquire Jason Woolley.

* Goalie Curtis Joseph's adjustment to Detroit and his return to Toronto for a game.

* Brett Hull and Sean Avery talking trash to teammates and the opposition.

* Darren McCarty and his band, Grinder, in action.

* Fedorov on his game in Steve Yzerman's absence and his love of cars.

* Yzerman's challenging rehabilitation.

* The overall grind of life on the road.

One of the most touching parts of the documentary is seeing Kris Draper with his kids, daughter Kennedi (2 1/2) and son Keenan (11 months), before he leaves on a trip and in Toronto.

"I think we really were able to capture the Red Wings, one of the best teams on the planet, as competitors and people," Antinoro said. "You see them as they really are, which is our goal."

ESPN hasn't decided what to do with the extra footage. It might be released as a DVD.