When the Bruins come to town

Imagine following a professional hockey club around North America, going out for beers & wings in some of the world’s best cities like Chicago, Nashville, Miami and Washington, and watching hockey for free from the press box.

Plus you get a game meal, game notes and free popcorn.

I know a lot of guys that would sign up for that gig faster than a rocket full of monkeys.

I know I certainly could have gone down that road.  It was a consideration.

Interestingly enough, it’s the Canadian cities that veteran Boston Globe Columnist, Kevin Paul Dupont mentions when asked which towns he looks forward to the most.

“Probably Van.  Montreal is a lot of fun. Toronto and, of course, Quebec City when they had a team. They are all so different”

When the Boston Bruins travelling road show comes to town, I do my level best to hook up with KPD.

(Twitter)

He’s a hall-of-fame writer who occasionally joins the caravan to personally witness and observe how his assigned NHL team is doing on the road and of course, in the process, gets to visit some of his favorite cities.

He’s been writing about the Red Sox, Bruins, Celtics, and Patriots for 40 years now, and Kevin is a bright man who makes great company.

We like to compare notes, talk trades and exchange generally witty repartee.

He asks about the soap opera that was the ‘Summer of the Sens,’ and the status of the rink project for downtown at Lebreton Flats.

I ask him about what has been ailing the Bruins, and the extent of the injury to Bruins young stud defenseman, Charlie “boy” McAvoy.

(Ryan Forsyth, Corus Ent)

Dupes thinks the Bruins would be well served to try robust, sometimes less than graceful, 4th line Center, Sean Kuraly up on the 1st line.

His thinking is that Kuraly would bust the boards for Marchant and Bergeron and feed loose biscuits to the two all-stars on the “Perfection Line,” thus allowing the team to spread the wealth a little and balance the line.

I agree.  Worth a try.

Having David Pastrnak with David Krejci may just get the 2nd line going.

He also believes that the talented Artemi Panarin, out of Columbus, would be a great addition for more of the above.

I agree but the price he is willing to pay is too rich for my blood.

He suggests McAvoy and young winger Jake DeBrusk.

Too rich for my blood, I say no go.

I suggest Brandon Carlo and Danton Heinen and a draft pick; he says not enough.

Both of us are classic ‘information junkies’ and we compare notes on everything from politics to music.

He’s a great guy to catch up with and we have been talking hockey for 20 years now.

The sports departments aren’t growing at newspapers.  The media is shrinking in general.  Dupont lost his colleague, Fluto Shinzowa, recently to the online super blog known as “The Athletic.”

I ask Kevin, who is not getting any younger, if he has plans to retire, “not till the boys out of Cornell.”

After that will you blog, write a book? “nope, I’ll never blog.”

(Ryan Forsyth – Corus Ent)

I recall growing up in Leaf country with such a dearth of pertinent, timely information regarding my favourite hockey club, the Boston Bruins.

I used to do everything I could to tune into the clear channel, 100,000 watt flame thrower known as WBZ (Boston) with Fred Cusick and Derek Sanderson calling the names of the players that I so idolized.

Through the static and white noise I could vaguely make out the names of my childhood heroes; Middleton, Pederson, Schmautz, O’Reilly, Cashman, Cheevers — and try and make out what the score was through the static.

But it was worth it.  That was coming straight outta Boston baby!

There was such a lack of information in those days, it made me thirst for any scrap of info, however dated or anecdotal.

In my teens, I subscribed to the Hockey News and anxiously awaited its arrival for two week old news.

Other than that, I would keep charts to try and figure out who was playing with who.  I rated the players with my own star system to better visualize it all in my mind.

Then the internet changed everything.

We quickly went from scraps of information to almost too much, in the snap of a finger.

In 1998, using my first PC, I found a website called “Hockey Futures.”  It exists to this day.  I don’t have time for it anymore and Twitter and my newspaper links have rendered it obsolete to me.

Plus not many of the old gang are there anymore.

It was frequented by die-hard bruins fans, from all over the place, with crazy handles like DKH, Gee Wally, BlackEye, Dafoomie, Backin72 (I worked for his dad in radio in 1987 in radio in Leamington, Ontario) while my handle was “Duguay.”

Duguay was a re-purposed teenage nickname that I got in reference to former NHL’er Ron Duguay who shared my long curly main of hair.  I had inadvertently borrowed another players Rangers jersey while playing pickup hockey in my hometown one day, and that sealed it

A scrappy guy on that board who went by the pseudonym of Don Cherry, once asked me to meet him in Boston so he could fight me in an alley.

I told him I would, if he paid for my flight, return.

I too am a Bruin at heart.

This is the site where I also met Kevin Paul Dupont, who would contribute from time to time.

In my estimation, Kevin would come in like the classic provocateur.  He’d drop a theory like a bomb and then quietly watch us scrap over the pieces.

I think we were good entertainment.  I also think we were the perfect, passionate sounding board for a writer who wanted to stay close to the front lines.

I also met some very other sharp hockey minds like present day sports writers Joe Haggerty (NBC Sports), Mic Colageo (Standard Times), Jimmy Murphy (MurphsHockeyLaw blog), Mike Loftus (The Patriot Ledger) Dom Tiano (who writes for the OHL) and a military Lt.Colonel by the name of Kirk Luedeke, who served several tours of duty in Iraq and is now the Director of Hockey Operations for the Omaha Lancers of the USHL.

A great group.

The mainline Boston writers and other sundry insiders also made occasional appearances.  In its day, It was friggin fantastic!  My hunger for Bruins news was assuaged.  I slaked my thirst and bantered back and forth about hockey with these guys for years.

I distinctly recall Kevin and I disagreeing on the Joe Thornton trade.  I was dead set against it.  He said that Thornton played lazy hockey and wasn’t the born winner that the Bruins needed to get back to their past glory days.

I still remember him writing that Jumbo Joe was really no better than Pierre Turgeon.

I still needle him on that one to this day as Jumbo Joe is headed to the Hall of Fame, and Turgeon has been retired for about a dozen seasons.

The day after, game day, I saw Kevin with Boston Herald Reporter Steve Conroy in the perch in the CTC Press Box high above the ice surface in Ottawa for the October 23rd matchup between the Ottawa Senators and the Boston Bruins.

Looked like a decent crowd out tonight with, as usual, lots of fans of the opposing team.

The first intermission hot dogs and popcorn?  Confirmed, free.

The Sens were surprisingly coming in on a 3 game win streak and Boston was coming in from a western road swing having lost 3 in a row.

I predicted a surly Boston club.  Quite the opposite really.  Even an elbow to the head of Bruins rookie defenseman Urho Vaakanainen, by Mark Borowiecki, barely roused their spirits, and it didn’t raise the refs arm either.

Ok, this is how this one is going to get played then, eh?

It made me wish that the departed Adam McQuaid was still on the Boston roster.  He had been traded to the Rangers just 40 days before, to pare down the Bruins defensive ‘depth.’

When you consider that strongman Kevin Miller was also out of the lineup, what you are left with is ratty Brad Marchant taking on Zach Smith after another nasty hit, this time on Matt Grzelcyk.

Yeah, Marchant is a 5’-9” and 180 pound NHL 80 point All-Star.  Zach Smith goes 6-2 and 15 stone, he was just waived by the team so frankly I don’t like this matchup.  Zikes!

So, the Bruins weren’t really all that surly although another point was proven.

And that is all this talk about the Bruins being a 1 line team.  It’s kinda true and the Bruins “Perfection Line” again dominated the Sens with David Pastrnak picking up 4 points good for First Star of the Game.

Final score 4-1 Bruins as one streak ends and another begins.

(Ryan Forsyth – Corus Ent.)

Dupont is not wrong.  This will have to be addressed by the team.  Perhaps Rick Nash will return for 40 games when he recovers from his concussion issue, if he ever does?

(Ryan Forsyth – Corus Ent.)

Although Tuukku Rask didn’t get much of the credit, I thought he deserved a bunch of it, making it look easy with some excellent toe saves.

After the game, the Bruins returned to Boston to get ready for their dreaded rivals the Montreal Canadians who, like the Senators, have been playing much better hockey than expected.

The next day, Kevin Paul Dupont followed them back to Beantown and I look forward to another visit from Kevin Paul Dupont, hopefully before his son finishes up at Cornell. This time I insist, the cheque is mine.

 

 

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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