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.