Michael Hurley of CBS Boston called into The Adam Jones Show to talk Bruins playoffs with Rich Keefe, hitting on the performance of the first line, Tuukka Rask’s Vezina nomination, and more.
Hurley said the impact of Dougie Hamilton has been a bit of a shock in this series against the Red Wings.
“I have as my number one surprise so far this series is just how good Dougie Hamilton has been,” Hurley said. “Last year obviously, he was a healthy scratch in the playoffs, he was only in when other people were hurt. And even this year, he was in and out of the lineup. Late in the season, I remember a turnover he had against Toronto, it was a Phil Kessel assist, that Hamilton just gave it up, just coughed it up, just completely panicked behind his own net and turned it over. And that was kind of common for him in the last couple of months in the season, just having trouble getting out of his own zone and having trouble just being confident.
“The play he made to set up the play where Carl Soderberg hit Milan Lucic [in Game 4], to take it out of his own zone, to make the breakout pass to Lucic to get him hitting the neutral zone at full speed, was really incredible. And you can’t do that if you’re not really riding high on your confidence. If he’s there, it really does completely change the way the team is.”
The discussion turned to the goaltender, and Hurley said that Tuukka Rask may be the team’s MVP.
“In terms of a playoff goalie, I don’t think there’s anyone else you’d want,” Hurley said. “I actually caused a bit of 98.5 The Sports Hub Facebook page controversy with my post last night, because I said that the Bruins would be average without him. And I really mean it, because when he’s not excellent, the team doesn’t win. I looked at the numbers, and when he allows three or more goals, the team has won four out of 20 games. So as good as the offense is and for as many goals as they score, Rask has such a tiny room for error that if he’s not excellent, the team’s not going to win.
“I think we’ve seen that in this series. He’s really carried them. As good as the offense can be and as deep as the team is, he is the rock. They don’t take it for granted personally, but I think their style of play almost takes it for granted, where if they let up a 2-on-1 or a breakaway, they know they have a good guy back there to stop it who’s going to keep them in the game. So as far as I’m concerned, he’s as good as it gets.”
And what about Carl Soderberg’s performance?
“It was a little bit sacrilege in my story, but I said he basically played like a bigger, stronger, faster Patrice Bergeron [in Game 4]. That’s how good he’s been. He’s just been such a difference maker,” Hurley said. “You have to wonder, if his postseason in Sweden didn’t go so long last year, and if he could have come over here maybe two weeks earlier and really gotten accustomed to the NHL game, this could be a Stanley Cup defense right now. He has been that much of an impact player.”