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Some background on 'Behind the B'

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  September 10, 2013 08:49 AM

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The first episode of "Behind the B,'' the 13-episode series that offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Bruins, debuted Monday night on NESN.

The social media reaction and the messages in my inbox this morning about the premiere, which began with Claude Julien consoling his team after their season-ending loss in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, were overwhelmingly positive.

If you missed it, it airs again at 4 p.m. today and 7 p.m. Saturday. The date of episode 2 is still to be determined.

Episode 1 includes segments on new acquisition Loui Eriksson's first visit to Boston, the home lives of Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla, and a round of golf with Tuukka Rask and David Krejci at TPC Boston.

The series is produced by the Bruins, so those who might have been skeptical of what all-access really meant were probably surprised by the level of candor, particularly when it came to team president Cam Neely and general manager Peter Chiarelli's discussions that preceded some of the team's more noteworthy transactions in the offseason.

But as I noted in last week's media column in the Globe, this is what Neely had in mind when he decided to have the Bruins produce such a program after he was so impressed with HBO's "24/7" production leading up to the Winter Classic during the 2010-11 season.

“I watched ‘24/7,’ my family was into it, my kids and my wife,’’ said Neely. “And for me, I felt like, if my family is really interested in sitting down and watching this as a family, there are plenty more out there that are doing that.

“And then after an episode aired, you’d hear people talking about it, commenting on it, and even the casual fan tuned in to see what it was all about. It made me really think about how we could do something like this with our team and NESN. I really wanted to do some kind of show.”

Neely signed off on buying a few extra cameras for the Bruins’ in-house production team, and had them begin filming footage midway through the 2011-12 season, with the intent of putting the show together last season.

“But we scrapped it for the time being because of the uncertainty of the lockout,” Neely said.

That may have been a blessing, since the 2012-13 Bruins season proved to be downright fascinating, ending with a loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final.

Neely said he made sure before going forward with the project that staff and players were comfortable with the cameras’ presence.

“We got that comfort level with the coaching staff to make sure they were OK with being around more cameras,’’ said Neely, “and to make sure it wasn’t going to disrupt anything.

“Plus, knowing that we would edit it ourselves, that was reassuring to anyone who might have not been comfortable at first about what might end up on air. That was extremely important, for them to know that nothing that would air to cause concern for anybody.”

So while it’s not exactly all-access and entirely unfiltered, it is nonetheless fascinating.

“This is information that’s always been there with sports teams through the test of time. Now with the opportunity to get it out on film and put it on TV is something I think our fan base will look forward to. A lot has happened, and this might fill in why or how."

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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