Hockey Questions with Michael Hurley

12-27-13The Boston Bruins are on their Olympic break,  And, while our favorite players are in Sochi or the Dominican Republic, I am seizing the opportunity to ask a few of my favorite Bruins writers to answer some questions for me.
My first interview is with Michael Hurley from CBS Boston Sports, 98.5 The Sports Hub & WBZ-TV. I first fell for his hilarity last year while reading his “Leftover Bruins Thoughts’ during the playoffs. Something I looked forward to after every game.  Not only is he a huge Anton Khudobin fan, but he is always insightful, always funny. Definitely follow him on twitter: @michaelFhurley. There is a good chance he will make your day. OR, if you leave him a ridiculous comment, there is a good chance we will laugh about you all day long.
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What photo makes you most excited to not be in Sochi?
Oh my God, definitely the double toilet picture. I mean, we are human beings here, and there are lines and boundaries we must respect in order for society to function peacefully. That’s just … nasty.

A close runner-up would be the yellow water from the reporter who said her hotel’s front desk advised her not to put any of the water on her face “because it contains something very dangerous.” That’s slightly concerning.

Of all the recent Boston Championships, during which one did you let GO the most?

I don’t know if it counts as recent anymore, but the only one that would qualify would be the ’04 Red Sox. I was still young, and that was a week-long stretch that was a whole lot of fun.

What is your favorite part of writing about sports?

The part I always appreciate and never take for granted is that I have the unique opportunity to have a platform and a microphone to express any opinion and make any case I want. That doesn’t mean I always think I’m right, but I appreciate that I can say something that can start a discussion or debate. So long as that debate doesn’t involve someone relentlessly hurling curse words at me, it’s usually a solid experience.

Who is the best interview you’ve ever had?

Well, I’m a little biased on this one, just because I liked the guy so much, but I’m going to have to go with Anton Khudobin. The guy was hilarious, and I think he knew it. He was like a less-crazy but just-as-entertaining version of Iilya Bryzgalov, except he could actually stop pucks, too. Every time I got to the Garden and saw Khudobin lead the team out of the tunnel, I got excited, because I knew it meant there would be a chat with Anton on tap for after the game.

I remember talking to him after he made 45 saves in a win against Ottawa on a night when Robin Lehner made 47 saves in a losing effort for the Senators. I informed Khudobin that it was a career high for him, and he wasn’t aware. He said he was just hoping that both goalies could get 50 saves, because that would have been entertaining to him. That’s what he was thinking about during a game in which he was asked to make 45 saves.

I miss Anton.

What is the craziest experience you have had as a sports writer?

I’m not sure “crazy” could ever be the right word to describe anything that takes place during my job, but I have been able to witness more amazing sports moments than I ever could have imagined. I was at Gillette this year when Tom Brady led the Patriots to a last-second win over the Saints, and I listened to the radio on the way home as David Ortiz cranked the game-tying grand slam in Game 2 of the ALCS. The next weekend, I was at Fenway when the Red Sox finished off the Tigers, and a week and a half after that, I was there to see the Red Sox win the World Series.

I have to say, I never really anticipated ever being at Fenway to witness the Sox winning it all, and being there for that postseason run was certainly one of the craziest experiences I’ve had.

What is the piece you’ve written that has meant the most to you?

That’s a good question. I think it might be the recap I wrote after the Bruins’ comeback victory in Game 7 against Toronto last year — http://boston.cbslocal.com/2013/05/14/bruins-miraculous-game-7-comeback-will-forever-go-down-in-boston-sports-lore/ . It was just such an incredible moment, and I know that I’ll never witness anything like that again.

I remember that for whatever reason, I started writing that one on my phone. I think I was in the hallway waiting for the locker room to open to the media, and I was trying to figure out a way to put that experience into words, so I just started tapping away.

To be honest, it’s pretty rare for me to write a story and think afterwards, “Hey, I feel good about that one.” So that Game 7 story stands out in my mind as one I feel good about.

Which hockey team do you pick to win the Olympics?

I think the most obvious answer is Canada, but I would have some concerns about goaltending if I were from the Great White North. Carey Price falling on his face wouldn’t totally stun me, and I think the 2010 team won despite Roberto Luongo. So I think that might get in the way of another gold for Canada.

I think Sweden might be the next best team in the tournament, in large part due to Henrik Lundqvist. A handful of the players were on that gold-winning team in ’06, and the Swedes are my pick this time around.

At the same time, I’m not ruling out the Russians getting some favorable calls. I’d never put anything past Putin.

Who is your pick to win the Stanley Cup?

I really feel like Pittsburgh is overdue, but I just can’t pick them to win four playoff series with Marc-Andre Fleury in net. I know it’s happened once before, but I just don’t see it happening again.

The Bruins should be right there again, but based on how difficult it is to go on long playoff runs in consecutive seasons, I’ll go with Anaheim. Not exactly the boldest pick, I know, but they’re just such a solid team.

Is there one NHL player that will benefit the most from an Olympic win?

I think it’s unlikely that Ryan Miller gets the opportunity to play for USA again, but let’s say he does, and let’s say he magically pulls off another run like he had in 2010. If he can put the team on his back and lead them all the way to gold, he’ll make himself the biggest name at the trade deadline and he’ll stand to make a whole lot more money in free agency this summer.

It’s unlikely, but hey, you never know.

One NHL player that will benefit the most from an Olympic loss?

Maybe an early exit for Slovakia wouldn’t be the worst thing for Zdeno Chara. The man needs rest.

Which Boston team will be the next to give us a reason to get drunk?

If you drink enough at a Celtics game, it might actually start to look like a good game.

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