Notes: Recchi retires with a Stanley Cup win

191545.jpg

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

Sources: Bruins engaged in trade talks involving Ryan Spooner

Sources: Bruins engaged in trade talks involving Ryan Spooner

This probably won’t come as a complete shock to those watching the way things have played out with him this season, but the Bruins have engaged in discussions with multiple teams about a Ryan Spooner trade, per multiple sources with knowledge of the situation. 

The 23-year-old Spooner was mentioned casually a few months ago as possible fodder in a Jacob Trouba deal with the Winnipeg Jets, but that deal never really materialized prior to the Jets signing their young, frontline D-man to a two-year deal. The Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders and San Jose Sharks have all expressed interest in Spooner, per one hockey source, as it appears that things simply aren’t going to work out for him in Boston. 

It’s been a challenging year for Spooner with pedestrian numbers of three goals and eight points in 24 games, but there are plenty of mitigating circumstances behind the slow start. Spooner has been pushed into playing left wing for the bulk of the season rather than his natural, preferred center position, and he’s been dropped to the fourth line by Claude Julien over the last few weeks. At times he’s also been pulled from the Bruins power play where he racked up six goals and 17 points working off the half-wall last season.  

Julien talked about the former second round pick in frank terms after this week’s win over the Carolina Hurricanes, which featured a Spooner snipe to the top corner during a successful shootout for the Black and Gold. 

“I think at times that [David Krejci] line goes quiet, other times it’s better. We’ve tried different guys on the left side right now and one [Spooner] might give them speed but doesn’t win as many battles,” said Julien of his search for stability at left wing alongside Krejci and David Backes. “The other way [with Tim Schaller] guys are a little harder right now, and they spend more time in the O-zone. So we’re really trying hard to find the right balance there.”

Trade talks have increased the past few weeks because A) the situation has worsened recently with Spooner’s prolonged stint as a miscast fourth line winger and B) the speedy, skilled forward will most likely be a man without a spot when 22-year-old left winger Frank Vatrano returns sometime around the mid-December range. 

According to one source, the Bruins are asking for a “top six forward” in exchange for a package including Spooner, and it’s a lead pipe certainty they’re looking for some goal-scoring given their 24th ranked offense this season. That represents a bit of an organizational sea change after the Bruins searched low and high for a top-4 defenseman in trade over the summer. The emergence of 20-year-old Brandon Carlo, and the Boston defense’s performance across the board, has lowered the Black and Gold’s priority list need to trade for a D-man. 

The Bruins have scored two goals or fewer in 18 of their 25 games this season and badly need somebody that can put the puck in the net from one of the wing positions. Unfortunately for the Bruins, there aren’t a lot of top-6 forwards readily available that could make an immediate impact. It’s highly doubtful any team is going to fork one over for an asset like Spooner that’s been downgraded due to the way he’s been utilized by the Bruins this season. He hasn't played with the same creativity or confidence this season after posting 13 goals and 49 points as their third line center last season. 

So it remains to be seen what the Bruins will get for Spooner after they offered him and a draft pick to Buffalo for rental forward Chris Stewart a couple of years ago. That was a deal Sabres GM Tim Murray turned down before trading Stewart for considerably less at the trade deadline.

The bottom line: the Bruins are working the phones discussing possible Spooner deals, and it feels like there is some motivation from B’s management to move a player that doesn’t seem like he'll ever be a proper fit in Julien’s system. 

Sunday Dec. 4: Zacha adjusting to life in the NHL

Sunday Dec. 4: Zacha adjusting to life in the NHL

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling at the Bruins setting a franchise record this season for fewest practices in a regular season. Thanks compacted schedule due to the World Cup!

*Pavel Zacha is adjusting to life as a rookie in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils, and things are getting better as they go along.

*Manitoba Moose players relive their favorite Star Wars moments prior to the team holding their Star Wars Night.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Friedman sits down with new Florida Panthers head coach Tom Rowe to discuss the massive changes in that organization with the firing of Gerard Gallant.

*Good for Anders Nilson putting a rainbow decal on the back of his goalie to mask to support some gay friends that have faced public resistance in their lives.

*Bruce Garrioch has his weekly NHL notes with several players, including Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald, potentially on the trade block if anybody wants them.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson suffering a broken leg that will keep him out 6-8 weeks.

*There was no blood for the Vancouver Canucks fans, but there was still plenty of drama in a win over the Maple Leafs.

*For something completely different: The World Baseball Classic works for everybody except for Major League Baseball, and that would appear to be a problem.