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Morning Skate: Hometown hero

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Tough times.

Ottawa Senators v Boston Bruins Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, folks.

Those of you who have been around this site for a while know that I am a Dorchester guy through and through.

Needless to say, yesterday was a shitty day all around — there’s no way to sugarcoat it, and it’s something that is still really difficult to comprehend, let alone process. I grew up on the same street as the Hayes family, a few houses up. We all spent plenty of time playing all kinds of games together, from Wiffle Ball to street football and everything in between — including street hockey.

I think it goes without saying that I wasn’t the best hockey player on my street growing up, but that’s what happens when your neighbors go pro. I talked to him in the locker room at the B’s practice at Gillette Stadium prior to the Winter Classic a few years back when I was covering that game for this site, and you’d have thought it was two kids talking street hockey back at Saint Ann’s.

I remember thinking how surreal it was (in a cool way) to see a kid I grew up with playing for the Bruins; unfortunately, those thoughts were replaced yesterday with thinking how surreal it was to hear that awful news and see the tributes rolling in.

Bruins fans got to know and talk about Jimmy Hayes the hockey player, but I was lucky enough to know him as a person first — and he was truly one of a kind.

I ask that you send your prayers, thoughts, and good vibes to Jimmy’s family and loved ones.

Give your loved ones an extra hug this morning.

Today’s highlight

A buzzer-beater hat trick for your hometown team.

Rest in peace, Jimmy.