Notes: Recchi retires with a Stanley Cup win

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Notes: Recchi retires with a Stanley Cup win

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs
VANCOUVER Mark Recchi said he would retire if the Bruins won the Stanley Cup this season, and the 43-year-old lived up to his word. He announced his retirement in the celebration following his third career Stanley Cup win.

What a feeling. What a great group of guys and what a feeling going out on top like this with such a great bunch of guys, said Recchi. This is it for me. Theyre all special and they all mean the same to me. Its just so meaningful when you win that last one so you can go out on top.

Recchi finished with an assist in the 4-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 and was part of a forward line along with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand that totally decimated the favored Canucks in the final 60 minutes of the season. The helper gave Recchi a point per game in his final seven Stanley Cup Final games (3 goals, 4 assists). He ends his future Hall of Fame career with three Cups: one with the Pittsburgh Penguins, one with the Carolina Hurricanes, and his last with the Bruins, one of the league's original six teams.

The Bs assistant captain was still providing expert leadership right up until the final decisive Game 7 when Patrice Bergeron consulted him about how to deal with his nerves prior to the biggest game of his career. The BergeronRecchi connection has been a special one throughout the last three seasons, and one couldnt help but notice Bergeron elevating to a different level in the last couple of games to get his beloved teammate one more Cup.

It meant a lot to me, said Bergeron when asked about making sure Recchi retired with one more Stanley Cup. I wanted to do it for him tonight. We told him that we wanted to get it for him tonight. I learned so much from Rex all year and all of the years I guess on and off the ice.

Nathan Horton revealed after Game 7 that the water bottle he used to douse the Rogers Arena ice around Bostons bench before the game was filled with TD Garden ice.

While making sure to not take credit for the plan, Horton wouldnt say who came up with the idea, but the Garden ice was placed in the bottle before the Bruins team charter left Boston for British Columbia. Horton also said it was supposed to be a secret gesture that nobody would notice, but cameras immediately picked up on the injured right wing spraying the water all over the ice."I was just trying to get some Garden ice here and make it our ice," Horton said. "I was trying to be sneaky about it."

Claude Julien was besieged with questions about his satisfaction level upon winning the Stanley Cup after battling criticism and questions about his job security all season. But he wasnt taking the bait after winning the ultimate NHL prize.

So many questions about Julien and his players were answered during their playoff run, and now theyll never be asked again with a Stanley Cup on their resume.

As a coach you're going to be subject to criticism, but the most important thing is what's going on inside that dressing room. There wasn't a guy that didn't believe in what we were doing, Julien said. So it's easy to stay the course, and you got to stay the course. Today you're rewarded for it. Had I worried about that other stuff, I probably wouldn't be standing here today.

The Bruins join the 1945 Toronto Maple Leafs, 1971 Montreal Canadiens and 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins as the only clubs to win Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final on the road (home teams are now 12-4). Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas capped off an amazing year by earning the Conn Smythe Trophy awarded to the most valuable player to his team in the playoffs. The winner is selected in a vote by a panel of the Professional Hockey Writers Association at the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final, and there was little doubt it would be the Bs goalie in the end. He boasted a 1.15 goals against average and a .967 save percentage along with a pair of shutouts in the Finals against the high-powered Canucks, and was the single most important factor in Bostons path to the Cup.The 37-year-old goalie was the oldest player to ever capture the Conn Smythe, the first goalie to pitch a road shutout in the Game 7 of a Stanley Cup Final and set the record for the most saves (798) in one amazingly dominant playoff run. He was also marveling at the goalies hes sharing the Cup Final hardware with for hockey eternity.The Conn Smythe? It's quite an honor. The Stanley Cup is the biggest one, said Thomas. That's the one that you're shooting for. Conn Smythe is completely an honor. I just sat down here and started to read some of the names on it and it's an honor to be mentioned in the same category as so many: Patrick Roy, Ron Hextall, Ken Dryden. Those are the three goalies that I can see on this side facing me, it's amazing. The Flint, Michigan native is also only the second U.S.-born player to take the Conn Smythe, joining New York Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch in 1994 before Leetch would become Thomas teammate in Boston at the tail end of his NHL career.Thomas was the Bruins' only goaltender during their Stanley Cup-winning run, finishing the playoffs with a 16-9 record, 1.98 goals-against average, .940 save percentage and four shutouts. Brad Marchand finished with 11 goals scored during the Cup playoff run by the Bruins in 25 games, and holds the Bruins rookie record for goals scored during a single postseason run. He also became only the fourth rookie to score at least 10 goals in their first postseason while joining Dino Ciccarelli (14 goals), Jeremy Roenick (11 goals) and Claude Lemieux (10 goals). Zdeno Chara is the second European born-and-trained captain to raise the Stanley Cup, joining Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom in a rare brotherhood of European defensemen. Bruins D Dennis Seidenberg had two assists and led all skaters with nearly 29 minutes of ice time in the 4-0 Cup-clinchingvictory for the Bruins. He is the second German to earn a spot on the Stanley Cup, joining Uwe Krupp.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Coyotes hire Craig Cunningham as scout

Coyotes hire Craig Cunningham as scout

The Coyotes have hired former player Craig Cunningham as a pro scout, keeping the 26-year-old in hockey after a cardiac episode ended his playing career this season. 

Drafted by the Bruins in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, Cunningham played 34 games for Boston over parts of two seasons before he was waived and claimed by Arizona. He totaled 19 games for the Coyotes, but served as captain of the Tucson Roadrunners, the team’s AHL affiliate. 

Cunningham was hospitalized after he collapsed during pregame warmups on Nov. 19. He was kept alive by continual CPR, but had his lower left leg amputated the next months due to an infection from the episode. 

Known as a high-character player who was popular with his teammates, Cunningham’s transition to scouting lets him further his career after a scary break. 

"I'm very excited to begin the next chapter of my life with the Coyotes," Cunningham said in a statement released by the team. "I'm very grateful to John Chayka, Dave Tippett, the Coyotes and Roadrunners organizations, and all of the great fans across Arizona for the incredible support I've received over the past year. I'm looking forward to helping the Coyotes and I can't wait to get started in my new role."

Said Chayka, the team’s general manager: ”We're thrilled to have Craig join our hockey operations department as a pro scout. Craig was a smart, hard-working player with an incredible passion for the game. We're confident that he will bring those same qualities to the Coyotes in his new role and that he will be an invaluable asset to our organization. We look forward to Craig helping us in several areas and are excited that he is staying with the club."
 

Morning Skate: Overreacting to the Oilers' window

Morning Skate: Overreacting to the Oilers' window

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while really enjoying what the CW does season in and season out with the Flash.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Don Brennan says that the Senators fans not showing up for Game 6 is their way of sticking it to Sens owner Eugene Melnyk.

*The talk is turning to the next captain of the Buffalo Sabres, and what they can do to help open up communication up and down the roster.  

*A guy that wore a Habs toque on his twitter avatar writes a glowing, praise-filled article about the performance of PK Subban during these Stanley Cup playoffs. He’s undoubtedly been good, but he just might have been wearing his Montreal Canadiens footie pajamas when he wrote this one, and rattling his fist at Habs management all the while.

*Interesting piece by Jason Gregor about the “window to win” for the Edmonton Oilers, and an odd notion that the window will close when Connor McDavid has moved out of his entry level contract. I’d say that’s kind of ludicrous.

*The Colorado Avalanche coaching staff has been let go after last year’s dreadful season, and that’s too bad for a really good guy in former Providence College head coach Tim Army. I’m sure he won’t be out of work long.

*Colin White made his Stanley Cup playoff and NHL debut for the Ottawa Senators in Game 6, and helped push Ottawa to a Game 7. It will be interesting to watch the Massachusetts native and former Boston College standout develop with the Senators as White was one of the players that the Bruins skipped over to instead draft Jake DeBrusk and Zach Senyshyn in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft. The others, Mathew Barzal, Travis Konecny and Kyle Connor, are all either in the NHL or knocking on the door as well, and it’s going to be a challenging road for both of Boston’s forward prospects to live up the justification of the B’s drafting them first. Granted DeBrusk and Senyshyn are also both doing their thing for the P-Bruins as they push into the conference finals of the Calder Cup playoffs, and they’re both bright prospects in their own right. It’s going to take years to determine the rights and wrongs of that first round, but White getting into the lineup for the Senators is proof of just how high that organization is on him.

*Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan says that Sidney Crosby handled the targeted abuse well from the Senators in a Game 6 loss that will push to a Game 7 between the Penguins and the Senators.

*For something completely different: A great message from Brookline homey and former Sox GM wonder boy Theo Epstein in his commencement address to Yale University.