With 2013 in the rearview mirror, here are my top three reporting memories from the year that was:
3.) I was sitting down at ice level watching the third period of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals in the TD Garden media work place. The Bruins held a 2-1 lead over the Blackhawks late in the third period. Sportsnet reporter Mark Spector looked up and said to his colleagues “You can book those trips to Chicago boys!” And before the assembled reporters could even type in the web address of their desired travel sites, Bryan Bickell tied the game with 1:16 left in regulation.
But still some reporters seemed to see a Game 7 as pre-determined and were certain the Bruins would get the go-ahead before or in overtime and continued to type. I’m not sure how fast some were typing and if any were able to book their trip to the Windy City, but if so here’s hoping they clicked “refundable” because with 58.3 seconds left Dave Bolland had these reporters pulling up their game stories again as the Blackhawks took the lead and then held on to win the Stanley Cup.
Not sure if ‘Spec’ or any of those reporters took those trips anyways and maybe hit up the Blackhawks parade or even a Cubs game but only once before had I seen reporters collectively deem a game over before it actually was and that leads us to No. 2 on this list. But before we do, here’s a look back at that improbable, cup-winning rally by the Blackhawks. If I had video of the media room during it, I’d post that too!
2.) I was the guilty one in this moment but happy to be wrong. In what was arguably the best comeback in Stanley Cup playoff history the Bruins overcame a 4-1 deficit to the Maple Leafs in the final 11 minutes and then beat them in overtime to win Game 7 of the series and advance to the quarterfinals against the New York Rangers. As I always did to allow myself time to finish my Rapid Reaction for ESPNBoston.com, I watched the final period and overtime from downstairs in the media room. But unlike most games when I’m glued to the TV and internet making sure nothing drastic changed, this game and the Bruins season seemed over.
The Bruins had come into Game 7 having blown a 3-1 series lead and now trailed 4-1 almost half way through the third period. They seemed drained both emotionally and physically and the upstart Maple Leafs and more specifically the hated Phil Kessel were pouncing. When Nathan Horton made it 4-2 with 10:42 left, there still wasn’t that ‘wait a second here’ feeling unless of course you had caught Milan Lucic transforming into a leader as he kept yelling to his teammates “two more” and literally began to become the beast of a player so many believed he could be. But down in the media room no one was changing their stories yet.
But when Lucic pulled his team to within one goal of tying the game with 1:22 left in regulation, suddenly we were all glued and scrambling for the chance we may have a different outcome and the Bruins dressing room may not be the losing room after all. TD Garden was literally shaking and a Maple Leafs reporter just smiled and said to me: “Now this is more like the Leafs.”
Well the Leafs choke job and the Bruins comeback wasn’t over. Lucic had done his job and now it was time for Patrice Bergeron – the heart and soul of the Bruins — to do his. Bergeron tied the game with just under a minute left to send the game to overtime and then he won it 6:05 into the extra frame as the Bruins completed the most amazing comeback these eyes have ever seen as a reporter and gave a city still reeling from the Boston Marathon bombings more hope and a distraction they so desperately needed.
1.) Speaking of the tragedy that was the bombings at the marathon, that is obviously what any native or transplant Bostonian will likely remember most from 2013 but here’s hoping they also remember and continue the unity and love they showed for one another and those affected by this horrible event. They wasted no time in showing it when only two days later I had the honor of covering probably the most moving and memorable event for me not only in 2013 but throughout my ten years as a reporter.
With the two bombing suspects still at large and that surreal manhunt and capture of them yet to happen, Boston fans showed their resilience packing TD Garden for the first sporting event and major public gathering since the April 15 bombings just two days before. After a touching tribute to the victims that had this scribe in tears in the press box, Bruins National anthem singer Rene Rancourt began the Star Spangled banner and then let the crowd do the rest. I will never forget that moment as long as I live.