I am sure I have mentioned numerous times just how incredible it's been to get a chance to be a part of this historic event, and bring you a look at what goes on behind the scenes at the Finals. So let's get a couple things out of the way first: The video quality? Not so hot. My ability to hold the picture still? Even less. If you were looking for something akin to Bergman's finest, you're gonna be disappointed. But here is some of what I experienced over the last couple days, warts and all.
I was a little 'deer in the headlights' as I walked up to the accreditation trailer. After am ID check and a photo, I was handed a laminate the size of a license plate and sent on my way. After getting some helpful directions, I made my way down through the bowels of Rogers Arena, and got a kick out of seeing so many faces from television and the internet walking down the same corridor. I heard HNIC's Scott Oake use some not safe for broadcast language greeting someone. And that's when you realize you're not in Kansas anymore. Once the "OMG It's..." factor wears off, you begin to find out that these guys are massive fans of the game, and to a person, happy to be here doing what they love.
They say that the NHL Playoffs are like war: the first casualty is the truth. As far as getting information on player moves and injuries that's true, but other information is readily available for us down in the work room. Media guides, press conference transcripts, and stats galore are available to you fresh from the photocopier for you. The NHL event staff have been great, ready to address any needs you have.
The media workroom sounds a little more glamourous than it is; a curtained off area with rows of tables, the laptops and Macbooks of journalists from both sides scattered through the rows. At any given time you can see members of either side's press as well as national and international writers here, and when they're not writing it's a great place to listen in on reactions to some of the statements from players and coaches, as well as reactions to all the league-related news. And what a load of news over the past few days, huh? Atlanta moving to Winnipeg, Colin Campbell passing the Chalice of Discipline to Brendan Shanahan, and the Game 1 TVnumbers.
NHL Network's presence here is large, broadcasting live daily from Rogers Arena. NHL.com has their own workroom, and a number of their staff, working constantly to update the site with the last information for fans. The major Canadian sports networks are here, filing regular reports, as are ESPN and NESN. It's a bit surreal to be walking to a different area of the rink and say good morning to Gino Reda as he passes by. And the excitement of seeing Steve Carrell here was... sorry, he's what? Steve Levy of ESPN? Hmm, weird. Anyways, as I am sure Cam can relate to with his experiences recently at the Memorial Cup, it's easy to get caught up in the people watching aspect of it all. Everytime I think I've had the coolest moment so far, something happens that tops it. Talking briefly with Canucks broadcasting legend (and Hockey Hall of Famer) Jim Robson about the 94 Cup run and his thoughts on this year's team's chances. Standing next to Jeremy Roenick during one of the many press conferences. Watching Gary Bettman and new NHLPA boss Donald Fehr exchange pleasantries before the Commissioner's address to the media, knowing these two will be locking horns soon to hammer out a new CBA. Getting to know some of the beat writers, the guys whose job is to bring you this stuff day in and day out. It's a big deal for them too, being able to still be covering their respective teams at this time of the year a bonus, no doubt.
Another thing that must be mentioned is the great job that the staff of the Canucks and Rogers Arena do. Questions are responded to swiftly, concerns addressed, and requests fulfilled if possible. This is a proud moment for both organizations, and they've done a stellar job so far.
Here's a quick video I shot of the walk from just inside the security check for media to the workroom.