Being from Boston, covering the Bruins for nine seasons and now living in Montreal covering the Canadiens and the NHL I’m familiar with both sides of this series between the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens. With friends and family in both cities I figured why not give you the reader and the fan a taste of what it’s like to be stuck in the middle of one of the greatest sports rivalries in the world.
As I sit here at my humble abode in the hometown of Hall of Fame defenceman Raymond Bourque on a beautiful spring day and get ready for Game 3 with the Bruins and Canadiens tied 1-1 in their second round series I can tell you It’s been everything as expected so far as these rivals battle for the 34th time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Here’s some thoughts from the games, the dressing room and media scrums and life away from the rink thus far in the series.
— Being back in Boston for Games 1 and 2 last week, I was pleasantly surprised at how much buzz there was around the team and very impressed with the coverage by the Bruins radio home, 98.5 The Sports Hub. Gresh and Zo admittedly are NFL guys but they’re really trying to learn the game and do a great job pumping up the fans. Give them a listen during the series if you haven’t already.
— I’ve been covering hockey and written for plenty of publications but have to say it’s an honor and a pleasure to be covering the Habs side of the series for the Boston Herald since my Dad refuses to read news online and still has the Herald delivered to his door every day. Unfortunately he’s not doing too well and having him be able to open that paper over the last week and see my name has put a smile and pride on his face. Also staying with him and my Mom during the games in Boston last week was pretty cool since it is the former house of my grandfather who brought me to Bruins games growing up. Lots of memories flowing for sure. Here’s a piece I did on my memories of the rivalry.
–Was cool experience being a guest on “Melnick In The Afternoon” on TSN 690 live from the press box at TD Garden before Game 1. Could really feel the excitement as the series was getting ready to start!
— Lobster Mac n Cheese, Filet Mignon and Stuffed Sol. That was dinner for the media prior to Game 1 at TD Garden. The Bell Centre better step it up!
— Carey Price‘s 48-save performance in Game 1 that helped his team earn a 4-3 win in double overtime reminded me of Bill Ranford stonewalling the Bruins in Game 1 of the 1990 Stanley Cup Finals with 72 saves in a triple overtime win. That pretty much sealed that series but as Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban has pointed out numerous times, this Bruins team is a resilient bunch and they showed that with their comeback win in Game 2.
–Speaking of Subban, at this point in the playoffs he is one of the best players in the league and definitely the most exciting. His performance in Game 1 was like Price’s, one for the ages.
— The performance of some racist idiots on Twitter and fans at TD Garden after that goal was dispicable. What was also embarrassing was how some of my fellow media members and friends painted Boston with a broad brush and stereotyped the city as racist because of a minority of ignorance. Thank you to Subban for setting the record straight and not doing the same.
–Back to that Game 2 comeback by the Bruins, Shawn Thornton was a big reason the Bruins were able to light up Price for three goals in 5:32 midway through the 3rd period. Just as he did in Game 3 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals against the Vancouver Canucks, Thornton proved his worth inspiring his teammates on the bench after returning from an injury. Some Montreal and canadian reporters have suggested to me that Thornton should hang them up after this season. I disagreed and he proved me right again!
–Canadiens defenseman Mike Weaver has to be one of the best under the radar deadline pick up’s in recent memory. Just watch the little things this guy does. Friend of “Murph’s Musings” and Weaver’s agent Jerry “McGuire” Buckley has to be happy!
–Love Annakin Slayd’s new Habs playoff song “Rock The Sweater”! It’s a pleasure to know this talented musician. And I know they’re rocking the sweater down at McLean’s Pub on 1210 Peel St. If you want a great place to watch the game or head there after and see some hockey media royalty, McLean’s is the place!
— Been a pleasure hanging w/aforementioned hockey media royalty at Boston pubs and McLean’s. Lots of great stories told including one about how future hall of fame goaltender Dominick Hasek used to break a slump. Let’s just say copious amounts of adult beverages were involved.
–Speaking of media, it it me or do some of the media on both sides of this series think they’re playing in it?
— The Bruins mind games with Carey Price and knowing how to beat him won’t work.
— I cannot wait for the Bell Centre tonight and Thursday for Games 3 and 4! Best atmosphere in NHL!
–If I’m the Bruins, I make sure someone gives the new Kate Smith, Ginnette Reno a bouquet of flowers to break her streak as a good luck charm as the Bruins did to Smith in the 1974 Finals.
–Also had a good time recapping Game 2 with Brian Wilde and Francois Gagnon on CTV Montreal Sports!
–Prediction: This series will go back to Boston tied at two.
Enjoy the games!