I can’t remember exactly which of Shawn Hutcheon’s brilliant articles made me decide to follow him on twitter but I do know that we became friends when he was live tweeting Rocky one night while I was watching Rocky IV. Anyone who loves the Rocky movies as much as I do is A+ in my book. He also writes incredibly insightful articles about hockey for The Fourth Period and is willing to chat Bruins with me all hours of the night. If you are not following him on twitter right now, you should fix that. And read his wonderful answers to my questions.
Is there anything you are really missing about not being in Sochi?
I wish I could cover the hockey games at Sochi. I would love to be around the best the world has to offer not to mention the atmosphere. My dad took me to the Summer Games in Montreal in 1976. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.
Is there one NHL player that will benefit the most from an Olympic win?
It’s hard to say which player will benefit the most from a gold medal until we know which team wins it. If a Bruin does win a gold, he’ll bring a lot of confidence home with him, as well as the medal.
I have mixed feelings about Bruins winning and losing in Sochi. Are there any you hope will win?
I’m not rooting for any one specific Bruin. They’re all great guys. I wish all of them could bring back a medal.
Any you think will benefit from a loss?
The most important thing about losing is that you learn from it. Whoever does not win a medal will know what not to do when trying to win in any situation.
What is your favorite part of writing about sports?
I like everything about sports writing from meeting great colleagues who have become friends to meeting and talking with the employees of all the NHL teams and of course, talking with the players. I will say, every time I walk into an NHL team’s dressing room, it’s a pinch me moment.
Who is the best interview you’ve ever had?
The best interview I’ve conducted didn’t involve an athlete. It was with Roseann Sdroia, who lost her left leg in the Boston Marathon bombing. Her resolve and spirit was incredibly inspirational. She’s a very special person and is winning her fight to get her life back…Because I’ve never had a negative experience with any NHL player, I don’t think I can say I had a “best” interview with any one of them. A couple that stand out was Shawn Thornton before they played against Vancouver for the first time after winning the Stanley Cup. The other was with Ben Lovejoy of the Anaheim Ducks when they were in Boston this year. I coached him when he was 12 and 13 years old and it’s awesome to see him playing in the NHL. I also coached Brian Boyle of the New York Rangers. He and Lovejoy played together on the teams I coached..I think the most fun interview was with Brad Marchand earlier this year. What you see, is what you get and he’s one of the funniest persons you could ever meet.
What is the craziest experience you have had as a sports writer?
The craziest experience I’ve had as a sports writer came immediately after the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup at TD Garden last year. I was on the ice about to interview Patrick Kane when actor Jim Belushi came out of nowhere (I didn’t even know he was in the building) to grab Kane and give him a huge hug. I was thinking where did he come from then it hit me to take a pic with my cell phone, which I did and it came out pretty good.
What is the piece you’ve written that has meant the most to you?
The piece that has meant the most to me was one that I wrote last year. The Middlesex Islanders Junior Hockey Club’s coach is a friend of the parents of the late Avalanna Routh, the 6-year-old girl who became known around the world as Mrs. Bieber because she became friends with Justin Bieber, two days after she passed away from brain cancer, the coach told me about how his players spent many hours visiting her while she was in the hospital. She even had her own team jersey she would wear while they played and would wait for his phone call to tell her the games results. After he told me the whole story, I wrote about it and a few days later, he called me to tell me that everyone who read it was so touched by it that they cried. I didn’t write it for that. I wrote it because everyone has a story and although, everyone knew her’s, I felt there was more to it and that’s what I wrote. This is the piece… http://hockeyjournal.com/news/juniors/Islanders_Hockey_Club_touched_by_an_angel
Which hockey team is your pick to win the Olympics?
My pick to win Olympic gold has been, and continues to be, Sweden. Their skill level and goaltending is off the charts.
In a dream world, is there one player that the Bruins lost in the off season that you would want back, for the purpose of winning the Cup?
In a dream world, the player I would like to see return to Boston is Jaromir Jagr. He’s a future Hall of Famer and had a huge influence in the dressing room. The players really liked and respected him. He was always fun to speak with. On the ice, he could do pretty much whatever he wanted with the puck. His hockey IQ is one of the best I’ve ever seen. There aren’t many better at setting up teammates for scoring chances than Jagr.
Who is the biggest dark horse in this year’s Bruins team that may help us make it through the playoffs?
The biggest “dark horse” on the Bruins, good question. I think it could be Kevan Miller. He’s paid his dues with four years in the minors and is ready to assume an important role on the the team’s blue line. Not to mention, management and the coaching staff have a lot of confidence in him.
Who is your Bruins MVP for the season so far? And do you think that may change before the season is over?
Up to this point, my Bruins MVP is David Krejci. He is so good and so smooth that there are times when you don’t notice he’s on the ice then all of a sudden the puck is on his stick and in the net. He’s one of the best pure skaters in the league and is so smart with the puck. He’s a great defensive player, who is rarely out of position. Put it all together and you have a player who leads the team in scoring and is recognized around the NHL as one of top 5 centers in the league. I don’t expect that to change but any team that has Patrice Bergeron on it has another MVP year in and year out.