There’s nothing like being at the game, the hockey diehard often says to the unconverted. You have to see it in person to appreciate it.
The NHL has a chance to turn that lieu commun on its ear in the coming months, reinventing its television product for both the eagerly faithful and the curious newcomers. Cameras mounted where expensive seats might have been. Microphones picking up the on-ice chatter.
Count Bruins defenseman John Moore as a player who is open to change.
"A big part of this is going to be the presentation at a media and entertainment level to try and attract the most viewers we can, and I think it would be great for the sport if there’s increased microphones, cameras, what have you, that can deliver a better product to people who otherwise may have wanted to be in the stadium,” he said Tuesday on a Zoom call, when asked if he would welcome more microphones in the building as part of a re-imagined restart for a league that has been on hold since March 12 because of the coronavirus.
“I (was) not a big fan before this of the UFC, but I saw the first fight with no fans . . . you heard everything. It added an element of appreciation to the art of it all.”
Can you imagine what some of these guys would say if mic’d up?
“Obviously you think of a guy like Marchy (Brad Marchand) who might win an Emmy with some of the stuff they might pick up with him,” Moore said. “I’m all for it.”
Moore, who has sheltered in Boston with his wife, Elizabeth, and their two young daughters, is once again skating at Warrior Ice Arena. His player-led workout group includes captain Zdeno Chara and forward Par Lindholm. They sketch out a practice plan the night before, then report to Brighton for socially distant training. He reports his energy tank is full and the sessions are productive, even though the long layoff has him feeling like he’s “wearing someone else’s equipment.”
“It’s different for sure, but that’s the world we live in now,” Moore said. “You don’t let any of that distract you from the work that needs to be done. For everyone’s safety, you come in, you take your temperature, you do your testing, but then you go to work, you get on the ice, you go in the weight room, and it’s just like it was before. You’re learning and you’re adapting and that’s what it’s really all about with Covid and the new world we live in.”
Like several of his teammates, Moore has reservations about leaving his family to be sequestered in one of the NHL’s hub cities, but he has faith everyone back home will remain safe.
How will the Bruins look come July 10, when training camps might open?
“I wish I could answer that,” he said. “Right now it’s just getting our feet under you . . . this break has been longer than our entire offseason last year. I think everyone’s disadvantaged to a degree, but mentally, how are you going to frame this? As a group we’ve talked, it’s a chance for us to rest, recover and be ready for what comes next. You can’t get blinded by the trees in the forest here. We still have an amazing opportunity to go and compete for a Stanley Cup and we’re very grateful for that.”
At some point this summer, Moore hopes he and his teammates can put on a show for fans aching for some entertainment.
“Just a chance to give people a way to get away from whatever’s happening in their lives,” he said. “We’ve touched on it already, how amidst all of this stuff there’s some very real-world issues that have really affected a lot of people. One thing that’s really apparent is just how being a Boston Bruin, how much that means, how much the Bruins mean to people all throughout New England. To give them something to cheer for and root for would be a really special thing. As a team we’ve talked about that. It’s something that we are very grateful for, for that opportunity.”
Molly Griffin, a forward at Buckingham Browne & Nichols, and Anthony Messuri, a forward at Arlington High, won the Bruins’ John Carlton Memorial Trophies. The awards, named after the late Bruins scout and administrator, are given to a pair of high school seniors “who combine exceptional hockey skills with academic excellence.”
Griffin, who is second on BB&N’s all-time scoring list (145 points), helped her team to a program-best 22 wins this season.
Messuri, captain of the unbeaten Spy Ponders, is the first male public school student to win the award since 1999. The Globe All-Scholastic produced 112 points in his high school career.
Both are honor roll students and Arlington residents who plan to attend Northeastern.