The final episode of the NHL Network’s four-part docuseries Behind the Glass is finally here, and Smashville is once again in store for numerous behind-the-scenes looks at their favorite team during their 2022 NHL Global Series trip to Europe.
Dutchy and Mac Truck Do Prague
In the Behind the Glass finale, the Predators arrive in Prague for the first two games of the regular season, but before anyone hits the ice, there’s a new city to explore.
Meet your tour guides: Matt Duchene and newcomer Ryan McDonagh.
“I’ve been here a bunch of times, and I love this city,” Duchene says. “It’s my favorite one to visit in Europe that I’ve been to so far and we’re going to have a lot of fun here for sure.”
The pair of veteran NHLers stroll along Prague’s historic cobblestone streets, stopping by famous landmarks like the Prague Castle and the Prague Astronomical Clock.
Then, like any good dads would, Duchene and McDonagh stop into a souvenir shop to pick up gifts for their children.
The pair say hello to a few visiting Predators fans inside before exiting with Preds Russian nesting dolls – which contain tiny Matt Duchene pieces at the center.
“Hopefully one of my kids doesn’t put that in their mouth,” Duchene says with a laugh.
Five-Minute Major to History Major
Mark Borowiecki is full of surprises.
At first glance, you likely wouldn’t expect the six-foot-two, 204-pound and toothless blueliner to be an avid reader – let alone a reader, period. But he is. You also wouldn’t expect him to be a self-professed history buff, currently finishing up a degree in the subject – but he’s that as well.
It’s only fitting, then, that in Nashville’s Behind the Glass finale in Prague, Borowiecki – his father, Tom, in tow – waxes historical, pointing out Soviet-era architecture and discussing his Polish roots.
“You’re kind of enjoying the experience, the atmosphere – really everything surrounding this trip,” Borowiecki said. “But we’ve got a job to do. We’ve got two big games coming up and we want to start ourselves off right and make sure we’re prepared.”
Borowiecki also put aside a good bit of time on his Global Series trip diving into another of his off-ice passions: writing. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, you can check out his daily Global Series blog right here.
Meet Jaromir Jagr
With Behind the Glass spotlighting Nashville’s season-opener in Prague, it was only a matter of time before the greatest Czech player of all time made a special appearance.
Jaromir Jagr, the two-time Stanley Cup champion, pops his head into the Preds locker room for a quick meet-and-greet with Filip Forsberg – the pair exchange facial hair compliments – and captain Roman Josi before dropping the ceremonial puck at the second Global Series game.
For those wondering, yes – the 50-year-old NHL legend is still playing. He’s now skating with the Czech Extraliga’s Rytiri Kladno – his first professional club, which he also currently owns.
Imposing an Identity
The challenges of a shortened training camp, combined with those of a 4,000-mile overseas trip, come to a head in Prague, where the Predators are set to begin their season with a quick, back-to-back slate against San Jose.
Despite battling jet lag to less than ideal ice conditions at O2 Arena and even a scoring deficit in game two, Nashville’s locker room maintains a steadfast commitment to its identity.
“We’ve got to impose our work ethic and our competitiveness on [San Jose], that’s the number one thing,” Head Coach John Hynes says to his locker room. “Let’s come out and impose our strength, which is how we work and how we compete on the puck. If we do that, we’re going to get off to a good start and we’re going to set ourselves up for a good game.”
Nashville’s roster hears the message, and through the final 11 minutes of Behind the Glass, we see the Predators identity manifest on the ice and along the bench.
The Predators team that boards the plane back to Nashville leaves Europe with not just four points, but an even clearer understanding of the type of game they’ll have to ice in order to find success throughout the 2022-23 season.
Missed the NHL Network’s Behind the Glass episodes? No problem. They’ll all be available to watch soon on the NHL’s official YouTube channel – episodes one through three are available to watch right now.