Despite the relatively slow off-season, Bruins Network was lucky enough to have longtime NHL Reporter & Radio Host, Jimmy Murphy, join us for a Q & A interview about his career and the Bruins. If you've listened to sports radio in and around the Boston area in the past few years, chances are you've heard Jimmy talk on one. Jimmy has an abundance of experience that he has accumulated over the last 20 years in the NHL media business. He also runs his own website (MurphysHockeyLaw.net) and can be found on twitter (@MurphysLaw74) as well. If you're not already following him on twitter, he's a great source of information about hockey, Bruins, and even information from his sources around the NHL! We hope you enjoy this quick interview, thanks for reading!
Q&A - Jimmy Murphy
Q: Jimmy, could you start by giving a brief introduction of yourself and how long you've been covering the NHL?
I graduated from UMass-Amherst in 2000 and thanks to my second cousin being the Assistant Coach of the New York Islanders, I was able to get a job on the game night media relations staff. I packed up my bags and headed down to Long Beach, NY. The plan was to get a bartending job to pay the bills and use the Isles gig to network into the hockey media world. Within a few months I was freelancing with Newsday covering high school sports and working part time for News12.com.
But towards the end of the season, my grandfather - who got me into hockey taking me to Bruins games growing up - took ill and passed away. My grandmother - who raised me like a second mother - was alone and I decided to head home to be there for her and see if maybe I could hitch on somewhere covering the team I grew up watching and loved, the Bruins. As the summer of 2001 started I actually took a detour to Denver to see Ray Bourque finally win the Stanley Cup. During the Cup parade he actually came down from the float he was on to shake my hand and compliment my "old school" Bourque jersey. Pretty cool memory!
Within three months I became the Bruins beat writer for the new Boston Metro and ironically, the first game I'd cover would be the night #77 went to the rafters, the 2001-02 season opener! It was a surreal moment asking Ray questions in the presser before and as he walked by me after, he stopped, put his hand out, and said "I remember you. Thanks for coming!"
From the Metro, I gained numerous freelance opportunities, one of which became more part time, writing the Northeast (now Atlantic) Division notebook and the On Campus (NCAA Hockey) notebook for NHL.com. These weekly gigs helped me pave the way to a variety of freelance opportunities and in 2005, a radio gig as the new host of the 'Inside Hockey Radio Show" on Sirius/XM NHL Network. That led to numerous appearances on networks like TSN radio and local stations in Boston.
Finally in 2009, I got more regular work signing a contract (one-year) job to be the Bruins/NHL writer for NESN.com. Along with writing I did TV analyst work as well. The following year, on the day my contract was up with NESN, I was offered the same job with ESPN Boston and eleven months later I found myself on the ice at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, watching the Bruins skate around the ice with the Stanley Cup for 39 years!
I worked with ESPNBoston for two more years before being laid off in July, 2013. Within two months, I found myself hosting a show again on Sirius/XM NHL Network, writing for TSN.ca and doing TV spots on CTV but from Montreal. Thankfully, I already had an established media presence there from appearing on TSN 690 so much and I would remain there until January, 2015, when I was laid off again.
At that point, I had it with the ever changing media business and took a sales gig with LiveBarn, a hockey live stream service, as the New England rep back in Boston. But within a year, I had that itch again and started freelancing with Bruins Daily and DirtyWaterMedia. For the last year I've been doing my best to stay relevant in the business and recently started my own site, MurphysHockeyLaw.net and podcast of the same name. I'm also the new co-host - with Joe Gill - of the Bruins Beat on CLNSmedia.com. Where it goes from here, I have no idea, but I'll keep doing what I love as long as I can!
Q: What did you think of the picks made by the Bruins at this years NHL Entry Draft?
I honestly don't know much about them and part of that may be because it was such a weak draft and I was more focused on trades and free agency. I do know that according to many, they went off the board with their first round pick Urho Vaakanainen. All I know is I feel for Jack Edwards and Dave Goucher having to say that name so much!
Q: With Keith Gretzky (former Director of Scouting) now out of the organization, do you think this is as big of an issue as some make it out to be? What are your thought as Don Sweeney as a talent evaluator?
Yes I do. That is not a knock on Don Sweeney though but rather a compliment to Gretzky. In a draft like this, I'm not sure how you pass on such an electric player like forward Kailer Yamamoto when you're already extremely deep on defensive prospects and ironically, who took Yamamoto? Gretzky! But overall, I think Sweeney has done a solid job and I commend him for his youth movement.
Q: The Bruins have undoubtedly accumulated one of the most stacked prospects pools in the NHL. Is there one prospect or young player in particular (outside of McAvoy/JFK) you have high hopes for? What makes that player stand out to you?
Right now, I'd say Brandon Carlo. I'm really interested in A.) whether they deal him because of the depth of prospects they have and B.) if they keep him, will he be as good as he was last season and actually be a top 2 pairing down the line?
Q: With the addition of McAvoy, JFK & Bjork, how do you think this current team looks going into the season as compared to last year?
I think the same. I am more excited to see the continued infusion of youth but I don't think they've really improved too much or declined too much. They took some solid steps last season but if I've learned one thing as a Bruins fan growing up and a reporter the last 17 years, don't get too far ahead of yourself and take it all with a grain of salt. This team is in my eyes a border line playoff team and unfortunately the Atlantic Division is stronger than it's been in a while. The Bruins, Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Senators all made the playoffs last season and look to be better this season. The Lightning have improved and will bounce back and you have to think the Sabres will grow. The Panthers also aren't as bad as they were last season. Should be interesting!