Tag Archive | Hockey

Why I’m Watching the Stanley Cup Finals

Ive said before on this blog, hockey hasn’t been the top sport on my list before and it’s still not my top sport. I know the least about it and my interest in the sport is, at least for now, a parochial attachment to my school, BU, and my pro team, the Bruins. While I do hold a nostalgic attachment to the Hartford Whalers and I wish the NHL would return to Hartford.  

 Hey, I can dream, right? We have the Wolf Pack here and as fun as they are, it’s not NHL hockey. 

Anyway, while I don’t put hockey at the top of my sports list and while neither of my teams are in the finals, I still have some good reasons to watch these finals. 

1. High Quality Hockey. 

Yes, I know I just said hockey isn’t my favorite sport, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it. It’s fast paced, intense, and a unique sports experience. Hockey is the most physically demanding of the four major team sports in North America. It calls for more of its players, coaches, and fans than any other sport emotionally. There’s a good reason why hockey players are known to be tougher than any other athletes in the world: their sport demands it. They have to skate, take huge hits, give big hits, speed up, stop on a dime, shoot a puck, stick handle, and do remarkable athletic things on ice. It’s such a fun sport to watch at any level. It’s at another level in the NHL. It gets better in the playoffs and is at its best in the Stanley Cup Finals. As much as I love baseball’s opening day, the NBA postseason and finals, and the Super Bowl, very few things top the Stanley Cup Finals. I wrote up a piece for TRL Hockey, where I discuss the best 10 Stanley Cup Finals Series, and these moments show how wonderful the Finals can be. I’ll let them make my case for me. 

The first series I ever watched was the 2006 Finals between the Hurricanes and Oilers. I enjoyed it so much and I’ve watched almost every finals since then. I got into it big time in 2010, when the Flyers played the Blackhawks. I rooted so hard for the Blackhawks because the Flyers had beat the Bruins after being down 3 games to 0 in the earlier playoff round. I wanted Phili to lose so badly, and I was sweetly rewarded. Thank you Patrick Kane. When the Bruins made it in 2011, I watched every second of every game and loved the result, with my team winning a championship. Washington knocked out the Bruins the next year, but I still watched the Finals between the Kings and Devils. It was entertaining hockey, and I enjoyed it. I knew then that I was a hockey fan. I’ll happily watch today.

2. Potential Dynasty?

No team has won successfully defended the Stanley Cup since the Detroit Red Wings won in 1997 and 1998. There have been some consistently good teams in recent years, and one of them is trying to win their 3rd championship in the last 6 seasons. The Chicago Blackhawks have been one of the best teams in hockey, rivaled only by the LA Kings, 2 cups in the last 3 years, and the Bruins, 1 title and 2 trips to the finals. The Hawks have a chance to seal their reputation as a dynasty in the NHL with a victory in the Finals this year. Patrick Kane seals a spot in the hall of fame if he helps his team to a title, and will be considered among the greatest players of the age.  

 They will have a hard matchup against the Lightning, but the more compelling story in the long term is with the Blackhawks. 

3. Boo Chicago!

  While the Hawks have a great story on their side, I still don’t like them much. They gave me one of the most painful moments in my total fandom when they knocked the Bruins out of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2013. Yes, I’m pulling the parochial fan card here. I do it all the time in choosing a team I pull for. I did in the NBA finals! I don’t really like the Blackhawks after the 2013 finals and I don’t hate Tampa. In fact, the first NHL game I ever went to was in the 2006 season in Tampa when the defending Stanley Cup Champion Lightning played the Florida Panthers. The game went into a shootout, and Tampa Bay won. I’ve had a small spot in my heart for Tampa and I will root for them to win. I think Chicago is a better team, and I think they will win the series in 6 games(checkout the predictions of the TRL Hockey people, including me, here). But I want Tampa to beat the Blackhawks!  

 I’ll be sure to enjoy this finals series. I hope you will be too! 

Winning isn’t Everything but Losing sure is Nothing

So… Uhm…. How about the Red Sox? They opened the season well and they have a great shot to sweep the New York Yankees in the Bronx. They won two games today, with a 19 inning marathon that ended at 2:30 or so this morning and an 8-4 beat down this afternoon. There is hope for a great season with them!

That is some good news. The title of the blog is 100 Happy Days of Chris, but the sports fan in me is not having a very good day. So tonight’s post will be an expression of how much it hurts when your teams lose. The title of this post is borrowed from two people. When speaking of his Minnesota Vikings in the 1970’s, Jim Marshall said the quote up top. The phrase was also popularized by the Austraillian musician, author, and radio host Red Symons. This is such a true quote. Losing a game hurts like crazy, losing a championship game rips your heart out in a way that nothing else in sports can. I should say right now that it hurts much more for the players and the coaches, but it still hurts for me, the fan, who invested in the team and follow it closely. 

Ok I’ve rambled on long enoug. Let’s cut to the chase. The BU Men’s hockey team played the Providence College Friars in the TD Garden(Gahden) here in Boston. The Terriers were one of the best teams in college hockey for the whole season. They had the best player in Jack Eichel. They had won the Beanpot and Hockey East Titles on the same sheet of ice this season. They wanted to make it 3 for three and complete one of the greatest seasons in the history of one of the most storied programs in collegiate hockey by winning against a program that hadn’t won a national championship. They had a 3-2 lead in the 3rd period, the time of the game that they owned all year. They had everything going for them. But there was no perfect ending to a marvelous season. There was no national championship to craft a storybook end. Instead, the team imploded. Matt O’Conner fumbled a caught puck into his own net to tie the score at 3. Two minutes and seventeen seconds later, Providence Wing Brandon Tanev beat the BU defense and gave the Friars a lead they would not surrender. The Terriers did have one more opportunity to put the game into overtime. Nick Roberto and Cason Hohmann had an open net late in the game when the Terriers had pulled their goaltender and had an extra skater. They had an open net and a chance to tie the game, but they just didn’t put the puck in the net to tie the game and probably force overtime. Time ticked away and the Friars won their first national championship, while the BU Terriers were forced to cope with a choke job for the ages. 

Yes, I used the word that no athlete in any sport likes hearing: choke. There’s absolutely no way around that. They had a great chance to win the game and the championship, they were the better team talent wise, and they had a lead on what was essentially home ice. They blew the lead and blew a chance for a championship. Matt O’Conner committed an error on par with Fred Snodgrass for the Giants against the Red Sox in 1912, Bill Buckner for the Red Sox vs the Mets in 1986, and Fred Brown for the Georgetown Hoyas vs James Worthy and North Carolina in 1982. The team and the fans were shell shocked and the team fell apart from there. I should point out that I feel very bad comparing O’Conner to those guys for their sports gacks. By all accounts he is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. But sadly, he made a tremendous mistake that will affect his potential draft stock in the NHL, and the rest of his play at BU. He choked. Jack Eichel choked down the stretch, with his name not being called much if at all late in the game. The whole team fell apart in the game. Now they, and the entire university, have to accept that they lost in a gut wrenching way, almost completely creating a new way to lose. 

For me as a fan, I’ve only had this sort of shocked feeling a few times. 7 times to be exact. 

1. 2005 Red Sox. I was a young fan who was riding high after my team won a title the year before and they return to the postseason. I thought they’d win it all again this year. Instead they lost every game in the playoffs and were swept by the eventual world champion Chicago White Sox.

  

2. 2006 Patriots. Losing the AFC Championship game to Peyton Manning and the Colts after leading the game 21-3. None more need be said.  

 

3. 2007 Patriots. Super Bowl 42. None more need be said. 

  

4. 2010 Celtics. They blew a lead in game 7 of the finals against the hated LA Lakers. Ron Artest scored 20 points and hit the winning 3 pointer. Ron. Artest. Guhhhh. 

  

5. 2011 Red Sox. They were leading the division at the start of September, went 7-20 down the stretch and lost the division to the hated Yankees and the wild card to the Rays. 

  

6. 2011 Patriots. Super Bowl 46. None more need be said. 

  

7. 2013 Bruins. Leading 2-1 late in game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals on home ice against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Bruins choked late in the 3rd period and blew a chance for a game 7 and another championship.  

 

All of these teams  failed to achieve the goal of sports: winning it all. They were all talented and won many games. They were fun to watch and were all entertaining, but they all lost. The 2015 BU Terriers join that group of talented teams that had very good years that ended badly. I should emphasize that I had some wonderful memories and experiences covering and following this team. I called the BU BC game this season, I called a game in the Beanpot, and I sat in the stands as a fan for many games, including the Hockey East Championship game. It was a great season and a tremendous team. My friend Alyssa summed it up well when she commented “Best season of hockey I’ve seen as a Terrier.” She’s completely correct. But for right now, it doesn’t really matter. We lost. And congratulations to the Providence Friars, a tough and relentless team that played so tough and physical for the entire way. They earned their victory tonight. Sure BU made mistakes, but Providence won that game fair and square. But this game will rank as among the most disappointing and painful sports memories for me. It’s worse because I followed this team closer than many others. 

  

Well. Those are my thoughts on the game tonight. I hope the team comes back next year for an even better year, and I hope that Jack Eichel returns next season for an even better year. The operable word in that sentence is hope. That of course is the operable word of all sports fans. Winning makes it all worth it, but losing hurts like all holy hell. 

Well, season’s over. Let’s go Red Sox! 

What a Game!!!

I just had the craziest sports night in my brief time working games. Last night was the first night of the Beanpot, an annual college hockey tournament between the four major colleges in the area, Boston University, Boston College, Harvard, and Northeastern University.

As I’ve written about here before, I do broadcasting work for WTBU Sports, the sports branch of our student radio station, WTBU, which you can listen to here. wtburadio.org.

Due to schedule shifts, I filled in for color commentary on the broadcast for the BU Harvard game to open the Beanpot. Just setting up our equipment was a tale unto itself! We brought our equipment. We had everything we needed except for one little thing: The power source for our console, which was a plug that connected to the wall. Of all things to lose! Well we looked around and tried to see what we could to to get the right equipment. We asked the in house guy at the Garden, other BU people, even a tech guy from NESN kicked in to help us a little. Eventually, we gave up looking for a power source and really stretches our request to see if we could find another console to use. I went and talked to the main tech guy at the Boston Garden about it. I followed him into the back, and he told me “Well we don’t have much but we do have this one if you want to use it.” He was holding a 6 mic sound console. I took it immediately, saying “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” I ran back to our booth and we started getting the board set up with not much time to go. We then had a hard time setting everything up, and we had to get some outside help. Naturally, we got the tech man from NESN we had talked to earlier in to help us out. We finally got everything working and 3 minutes into the game, we were underway.

And then the game itself was unbelievable!! A double overtime game between two of the best teams in the country, 63 saves by Harvard’s goalie, Steve Michalek, intense moments, bone crushing hits, and the great resolve to win. With the score tied at 3 early in the second overtime, BU forced a turnover, and Evan Rodrigues passed it to Danny O’Regan who drilled a shot to give BU a 4-3 victory that felt like 4 games rolled into one. It was a fantastic game, and I’m so thrilled that I got to call it. And it’s also nice that I got to meet people from NESN like Tom Caron and Andy Brickly and I got to talk hockey with both of them.

So yeah, I had a great and crazy night. Thanks Garden, I mean Gahden for treating me so well!

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Back in Beantown, Back in the Booth

Friday afternoon, I got back into Boston, where I go to school, and easily my favorite city in the world. My folks drove me back into the city to my dorm at BU, I moved all my stuff in, and got things unpacked. That was pretty nice. The other big and fun thing that happened for me on Friday was I got to go to work! It happens that work for me is doing broadcasting stuff for WTBU Sports covering BU games. Friday night was the biggest regular season game for BU of the year. Why? Because we played Boston College, the arch rival of all time for the Boston University Terriers. The cover picture for this post is my view from the press box where we did the broadcast from. It was so much fun to do! Except for the fact that BU lost to college evil (BC). Other than that, it was great! I got to dress up in a sweet suit, which is sorta seen here.

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Calling the game, getting some experience in the field was a great time, and I enjoyed the night until the end. Oh well. Let’s have a great semester!

Hockey Night in Hartford!

The day after Christmas, the Lynch family took a night to go to downtown Hartford for a fun night to watch the Hartford Wolfpack take on the Manchester Monarchs. They Wolfpack have been in town since the Hartford Whalers left after the 1996-1997 season to become the Carolina Hurricanes(which is why I don’t particularly like the Hurricanes). American Hockey League Hockey is not quite the same as NHL Hockey, but it is still fun, entertaining, and skilled hockey. It would have been better if Hartford had won, but I was still quite happy to get to see it and enjoy a night out!

Bro time with the Bruins

I got off campus tonight to go enjoy a night at the Boston Garden of good, quality hockey. I’ve not been to a Bruins game in over 4 years, and admittedly, hockey is at the lower end of sports to pay attention to for me. But I still enjoy it, and I love watching the Bruins. They are my boys the same way the Pats and Celtics are(sorry, no one has topped the Red Sox yet).

They played the New Jersey Devils tonight. The game was excellently played all the way around. Good play the entire game. Good hits, sweet saves, great shots, every thing you’d want out of a hockey game. Also, there was this amazing goal bySeth Griffith to give the Bruins the lead.

The best part of the night was getting to spend time with one of my best friends from school. He and I haven’t seen each other in a while, but we had planned on seeing one Bruins game this season. This game fit nicely. It gave us an opportunity to catch up, watch a win, and share some quality bro time, which is a good tonic to stress. He gives great advice on how to handle some of the tougher situations I’m in, and how to keep calm as I move on in the semester. I am eternally grateful for his friendship. It just so happens that we love the same team and want to go to their games.

Thanks bro!

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Springtime for Boston!

No this is not a veiled reference to the most famous song from The Producers. It actually feels like spring up here! The sun is shining, there’s a slight breeze, and the sky is a nice blue. It’s wonderful up here!

Spring is my favorite season. It’s a season of hope, promise, and joy. It’s all the things that Catholics preach that we find in Jesus. It’s a beautiful reminder of the beauty of the works of God. I enjoy it every time we get here!

Also the baseball season is now in full swing and the playoffs for hockey are coming soon! And my semester is ending soon! Which is exciting and gratifying yet a little surprising, as the end of this semester means I’m halfway done with college!

Well at least I get 2 more years to look at this image of the beautiful Boston skyline and pretty spring sky as a student here!

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