The Stanley Cup Finals sent me (and the rest of the media) from coast to coast. Even though the series lasted only 5 games, you can’t argue that (maybe aside from the Jonathan Quick shutout) that each game was awesome and had you on the edge of your seat!
Going 2,700 miles from point A to point B leaves a bit of room for surprises. The day after game 2 wrapped up in Los Angeles; Billy Jaffe, Steve Mears, Jamal Mayers, Kathryn Tappen and I got to the airport for a 9am flight back east. We were told that there would be a wait until at least noon when they fixed a part of the plane that required Delta to fly in the part before they could begin the process. Rightfully so, we assumed that sounded like a bigger project so went for breakfast checking our phones for alerts. It could be the combination of boredom, tiredness, frustration but somehow we were all playing card games for about 3 hours using ketchup, sugar packets, tea bags and anything else we could find as poker chips.
There we were in the middle of the airport all shouting when someone laid down a winning hand and passing over pepper and salt. People must have thought we were nuts!
After many incorrect flight updates I decided to try to catch an earlier flight and lucked out getting the last seat on a 4:00pm flight which was also delayed. Once I landed, my luggage was lost but I was back in NYC and hit the hay- finally!!!!
It was fun to work the final series. Media Day went by quickly but I did get to find out that apparently Dan Carcillo has the best laugh on the Rangers according to his teammates. And the Kings say that Drew Doughty is the best singer. Interesting.
It was lots of fun to be up close to the action! Obviously some late nights with the overtime and plenty of travel but it was the perfect fit to be part of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoff coverage.
My favorite moment has to be Justin Williams winning the Conn Smythe as the most valuable player in the postseason. His interview with such raw emotion was priceless and heart warming to see a veteran and great person achieve such a high honor.
Congratulations to Williams and the LA Kings on yet ANOTHER sip from the Stanley Cup!
A 2-month long road trip- imagine that!
During the final Hurricanes’ road trip of the regular season (stops in Detroit and Philadelphia) I found out I would cover my first Stanley Cup playoffs as a full-time reporter. We landed in Raleigh on 4/13 at 9pm and by 9am on 4/14 I was on my way to New York City!
It’s tough to pack all your clothes and necessities into a 60″ by 25″ space of suitcase but I managed!
My allegiances have always been to Boston but to my surprise I loved New York City. I was living in Times Square working with some really awesome people at NHL Network that not only taught me a lot but were always kind and welcoming.
The ‘Digital Show’ was a new concept for everyone on the project as well as myself but it was an exciting challenge. There was an adjustment period as there always is any time you start something new. On the nights in the first round where there were up to four games per night, things were hectic and often we didn’t leave the NYC studio until 3:00 am. But how could I not enjoy getting to watch and cover every Stanley Cup Playoff game? It was a lot of work but rewarding.
I am so grateful for the people I met while working for NHL network and NHL.com. Everyone from the producers to the production assistants to EJ and Steve made the experience enjoyable. (And if you know me well- I don’t throw around compliments so I really mean it when I say how awesome it was!)
Although it was disappointing that the Hurricanes did not make the playoffs, I have to say it was great to follow and get to know the Rangers better. (Especially living in Rangerstown!) There were tons of interesting story lines- the final goodbye for Teemu Selanne and the Blackhawks and Kings overtime battles with some of the most captivating hockey I’ve ever seen- but my favorite series was the Canadiens-Rangers. The heart you saw in the locker room as they awarded the Broadway hat and came together after two deaths of teammates’ loved ones was something quite beautiful and unique.
Here are a couple of links of work from NYC. In the next post I will talk about the Final including an 8-hour airport delay that resulted in NHL Net talent playing cards with condiments as poker chips! ‘Stay Tuned.’
Nathan Gerbe got his tenth goal of the season against Steve Mason at Wells Fargo Center. But this wasn’t your everyday snipe, this was a top shelf, between-the-legs shot that even puzzled his teammates.
During the intermission following, I asked Gerbe what was the thought process to use that move as he approached the crease.
“I tried to be creative. I just saw the gap and the angle that I could try it and fortunately it went in.” He was downplaying the beauty of it so I said “Between the legs!” He went on to say “It’s something I tried as a kid and I just thought of trying it here. Luckily it went in.”
Coach Kirk Muller called it “gutsy” and said he wouldn’t have tried it himself. Eric Staal and Jiri Tlusty both agreed that the Hurricanes’ bench was surprised but said he does have “sweet hands.”
Gerbe said he hadn’t tried that in the NHL and couldn’t remember trying that at Boston College either. First time for everything! I asked Ron Francis after the game if he had tried that in his playing years. His reply was “Oh yeah!” with a smile.
Tonight Gerbe faces his former, where his NHL career began. Rod Brind’ Amour said he has always been impressed seeing him play for Buffalo and felt Gerbe was always an underrated player. The two met face to face in no surprise- the weight lifting room when Gerbe became a member of the Canes. Brind’ Amour calls him one of the hardest working players, who does everything he needs to prepare off the ice… add “gutsy” to that list of compliments too!
A lot of people have asked what exactly the weather was like in Buffalo that caused an NHL team to postpone a game in a city that sees dozens of blizzards annually. The entire country was going through a deep freeze with below freezing temperatures.
I have been through plenty of winter storms living 22 years in New England but I had never seen weather like this. When the plane landed and we had to walk a few yards to the bus the wind was unbearable and it was only a dozen steps. You could not see more than a 5 feet in front of you. As we rode to the hotel, the gust was so strong that stop signs were bending. It was truly incredible. I have no idea how people did not lose power and trees weren’t toppling over. Most of the businesses around our hotel were closed leaving everyone stuck in the hotel for 2 and a half days.
There was a ban for anyone driving on the roads. If you were trying to drive, you got a pricey ticket. Still hard to imagine this storm?
This season I have been covering everything in Major League Lacrosse. I do weekly features and appear in the show 'Inside the MLL' on CBS Sports Network. I also host a radio show every Sunday at 3 with MLL game break downs, player and coach interviews and more.
Check out some things here.
The temperature did not drop below 45 degrees, which made the unique experience fun and enjoyable. It was awesome to be able to see my Wildcats in arguably the best game of the year versus the rival team, Maine. I can’t believe both Frozen Fenway games went into OT. The 38,000 fans loved it, and so did I! Here’s my work from the weekend.
I started hosting the intermission for UNH athletic games broadcasted by WBIN. I’ve been continuing to create the weekly 5 Minute Major segments for Hockey East’s website and have been busy with NESN.com features. Here are some of he latest pieces.