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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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Bruins: Eastern Conference Finals: Game 3

BergySo incredibly PROUD of my Boston Bruins tonight. The Pens really came out and played a much stronger game in #3. MUCH stronger.

Despite their efforts, Rask was OUT OF CONTROL. Love our crazy Finn. Bergy (his poor face!) earned that Army Ranger jacket. He’s our A for a reason. But, Tuukka Rask was also a real hero of this game. His saves were ridiculous. Absolutely incredible. Marchy and Jags and French Fries were REALLY AMAZING, as well.

That’s the thing, about this group. There is not one guy. They work so hard, TOGETHER. They really look like a team. And they play like one, too.

I love that they rallied behind Soupy. And I REALLY hope that he’s okay. Very worried. But it’s just like him, to risk it all, for the good of the team.

UPDATE: Gregory Campbell has broken his leg. He will not be back for the rest of the season. (Source).

They all play like that. There is no star. There is no king. There is just the Bruins. They risk everything. They sacrifice it all to win. And that is why I love them. That is why I

If you are counting this series, we have 3 down and only one to go.

If you are counting the playoffs as a total, we have 11 down and 5 to go.

Not that I am keeping track.

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Very Superstitious

Ever since I can remember I’ve had a lucky shirt. In high school it was this red, ribbed t-shirt from The Limited and every time I wore it something amazing would happen. The hot guy would ask me out or I would ace a test I hadn’t studied for. This shirt was so lucky that I believe it to still be hanging in my closet despite not fitting me in over a decade. But shirts aren’t the only thing I’m superstitious about. I have lucky days of the week (it WAS Wednesday there for a while), lucky dates on the calendar (LOVE Friday the 13th) and lucky songs on my iPod (I firmly believe listening to “Rock of Ages” by Def Leppard before my interview is the only reason I got my last job).

I am especially superstitious when it comes to sports. And I know I’m not the only one. Find me a hockey player, playing in the playoffs, without facial hair. Last year during the final series for the Cup against the Canucks, I refused to wear anything blue on game days. Something nearly impossible for me to do since every thing I own is blue. But it all worked out! Thank God for black yoga pants.

After Sunday’s big Game 6 win over the Capitals, I hung up the pants and Ray Bourque t-shirt I was wearing with all the faith that they were lucky and would be again for Wednesday’s Game 7. While getting dressed yesterday, I threw on a black tank top under my t-shirt because the t-shirt is a little short and I would be more comfortable having something longer underneath. I also painted my nails a brilliant gold as I had before the Stanley Cup Finals Game 7 last year, only this time I didn’t add the black Shatter polish over the top. Sometimes  it just comes out looking messy and I didn’t want to deal with it. And then we ran out of time before puck drop yesterday to listen to “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC.

I don’t know what I was thinking. I could feel the nagging at my subconscious even as I was making these changes and yet did nothing to remedy it. And this morning, while I continue to dry my tears, I just cannot shake the feeling that making these changes to my routine, to my wardrobe, to my life, is what caused last night’s heart breaking loss. The logical side of my brain is screaming at me to STOP BEING SO RIDICULOUS! It’s telling me that the Bruins didn’t play their best game and that the Capitals just wanted it more.

But there is a part of me that will always wonder if it was because I washed my hair or didn’t drink exactly three beers.

Sorry fellow Bruins fans. It’s all my fault. Next year I’ll dig out the red Limited shirt.

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To Fan or Not to Fan

So I’m experiencing a bit of a dilemma.

I am a HUGE Denver Broncos fan. I was born bleeding Orange & Blue. I can’t remember a time in my life when John Elway wasn’t an honorary family member. If I ever cheered against my Broncos, my mother would surely come down from heaven and ground me for life. Not kidding. Not even a little bit.

Since moving here 7 years ago, my husband has become a big New England Patriots fan. His devotion may be on the short side, time wise,  but I do not want to make light of his love for the Pats. He is the proud owner of both Home and Away Wes Welker jerseys (he likes to pretend one of them is mine) and he watches each and every game with full Patriot fervor (including a must see comedy routine regarding their secondary).

Nearly 4 weeks ago when the Patriots beat my Broncos pretty badly at home, I took a good beating myself. Not literally of course. My husband doesn’t take his football THAT seriously.

I was in enemy territory.  Enemy territory being my own living room with three Pats fans (my husband being one of them) and then me, the lone Broncos fan. It was a hard loss. I was devastated. I had so much hope. Especially after that first half. “MAYBE!!,” I thought. And then there was no 4th quarter comeback. Big. Time. Ouch.

The smiles on the Pats fans in my living room were less than fun. Wanting to kick people in the teeth is wrong, right?

At that point I really didn’t believe that my Broncos would actually make the playoffs.

And then, miracle one, THEY MADE IT!!

When the first playoff game was announced, against the Pittsburg Steelers, again, I did not believe. “We’re done.” I said.

I have become convinced that the universe just LOVES to prove me wrong.

So sure, was I, that the Broncos would lose, I didn’t even watch the game until the very end of the 4th quarter. Turns out, I tuned in just in time and got to see the pass and run of a LIFE TIME. What a beautiful sight! Miracle two.

Which puts us right back where we were 4 weeks ago. Only this time my Broncos are with me in enemy territory. And again my husband and I are facing off. Is there marriage counseling for this kind of thing?

I am pretty superstitious. They have won games I haven’t seen at all. They have won games that I have only seen the beginnings of. They have won games I have only seen the endings of. The only gme I watched all the way through was their last game against the Pats. And I watched it with Pats fans. And they lost.

I’m not so ridiculous that I think that anything I do will have an actual effect on the game. But what if I didn’t do it just right and they lost?

SO… here are my options:

1. Hole up in my room, with all of the Bronco fans I know here (Me, myself and I) and pretend I don’t care what happens (as I have done for most of the games where they win)

OR

2. Throw on my #87 Orange & Blue Jersey, go out with all the Pats fans (a.k.a. THE ENEMY) and just pray, pray, pray.

What do you guys think? Is there a right way to fan? A wrong way? Do I let my superstitions get the best of me and hide out? Or do I say SCREW IT and let my big Broncos Fan Flag Fly?

Win or lose, both options have obvious benefits.

The lethal combination of course would be to LOSE in PUBLIC. Though I’m sure my mother would never ground me for that.

By the way, after Robert Ayers, Defensive End for the Denver Broncos, made a huge play at the end of Sunday’s game against the Steelers, I thought of this song. Sing it with me friends!!

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