Recchi joins B's on ice, reflects on Cup run

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Recchi joins B's on ice, reflects on Cup run

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard

BOSTON It was the last time Mark Recchi will ever step on the ice in an NHL uniform.

The Bruins raised their sixth Stanley Cup championship banner to the rafters on Thursday night, and Recchi skated out with the rest of his 2011 teammates prior to the season opener, and raised the Cup in front of the home fans.

Afterwards, Recchi reflected on that special moment, and his championship run in Boston.

These last couple days have been hard, said Recchi. It was an exciting day, but it was a sad day too, at the same time.

All three Stanley Cups are special in their own way, but I came back for one reason to play, and that was to get that last shot of winning again, added Recchi. And the group of guys, from the day we went to Vermont for a team-building exercise during training camp from day one of training camp, really you could see the commitment and the special bond we had as a group, right off the get-go.

Any important game that we needed, we won because the guys were totally committed. And it happened all year, and we stuck together, and to finish on top with this group, it really did mean the world to me. These guys are unbelievable people. I have life-long friends.

After hoisting the Cup one last time, and before raising the banner, the Bruins new assistant captain, Andrew Ference, presented Recchi with the teams vintage player of the game jacket, which was handed out after every game during the championship run.

Recchi took in the emotional moment which he didnt know was coming and put the jacket on over his black and gold uniform.

Andy and I have become great friends, said Recchi. When we brought the jacket out, hes the one that started it. He went on eBay and found this jacket, and who knew it would turn into something special like this.

He put a lot of thought into it. Hes a great leader, and hes going to do a heck of a job with the assistant captain role."

Ference and Chris Kelly will split the assistant captain duties this season, but on Thursday night, Ference was sporting the 'A' on his jersey, and Recchi gave a glowing endorsement of his replacement.

You dont need a letter on your jersey to be a leader, and Andrew will be the first one to tell you that you dont need a letter to be a leader, said Recchi. But he deserves it, and hes a terrific guy and he knows what it takes. He knows what it takes to be a good teammate.

As for whats next for Recchi, he said hes taking some time to spend with his family, and after that, will be back in the game, just not as a player.

I might do a little bit of TV. The second half of the year, I might do a little bit of TV, just to keep myself in the game. And at some point, I want to get into management.

Until then, Recchis last on-ice moment in the game of hockey is something hell never forget.

Its the last time Ill be on the ice as an NHL player and be around my teammates, in that aspect anyway, said Recchi. I mean, Ill be going out to dinner with them. But to be on the ice with them and to be in Boston, with the crowd and the reaction from us winning the Stanley Cup, has been absolutely amazing with how much theyve embraced it and enjoyed it. Its a special time, and Im glad I was able to share it with the Boston fans and to be on the ice with my teammates.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Bruins' Zboril uses criticism and Twitter hate as motivation

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Bruins' Zboril uses criticism and Twitter hate as motivation

BRIGHTON -- It’s easy to see that Jakub Zboril , one of the Bruins' 2015 first-round pick, has come a long way in a year.

“I feel more comfortable,” said Zboril. “After last year, when all of the people saying something about what they didn’t like about me, it really pushed me forward. I told myself I wanted to be in better shape and so I worked really hard at it.”

The 19-year-old wasn’t in very good shape for last season's training camp after coming back from a knee injury, and that carried over into a junior season for the Saint John Sea Dogs (6 goals and 20 points in 50 games). That was a drop from his 13 goals and 33 points in 44 games prior to hearing his name called by the B’s on draft night.

Zboril was back at peak effectiveness in the playoffs for the Sea Dogs with a couple of goals and 10 points in 17 games, but the chain of events caused some to wonder if the Bruins had drafted something of a bust.

It seems ludicrous, considering Zboril is a 19-year-old talented enough to be selected 13th overall in the entire NHL draft, and even more so now that he’s showing much more in his second camp with Boston. It was some good and some bad for Zboril in his preseason debut against Columbus on Monday with a misplay leading to a goal against, but Zboril also kicked off the transition pass that helped the Bruins score their first goal of game.

“From last year I think he’s made big strides,” said assistant coach Jay Pandolfo. “He’s a young kid that’s only 19 years old, and he’s going to keep getting better. So that’s what you want. The structure in his game and the overall attitude [is better]. He was a little young last year. He’s in better shape. He’s done a lot of things that we got on him for last year, and he’s taken it and listened, he’s working hard. He’s done a good job.”

It’s a long shot for Zboril to crack the B’s roster this fall, so he’s likely headed back to Saint John for another junior hockey season after watching fellow prospect Thomas Chabot get a lot of the No. 1 D-man playing time last season. He quickly shot down any possibilities of playing in Europe rather than going back to the Quebec Major Junior League, and said there could still be plenty to learn in his final junior season.

“Right now where I am, I can just learn from myself and pushing myself,” said Zboril, of going back to junior. “What I can take from last year is that my role on the team changed, and I had to be more of a shutdown D. I had to show my defensive abilities, so I improved a lot from the year before. I think I can be more of a defensive defenseman too, so there’s that.”

Still, the so-so season last year had its impact in a positive fashion with Zboril really stepping up his game. But it’s also had its drawbacks as the Czech-born defenseman was forced to deactivate his Twitter account because of the harsh criticism and messages he was getting from hockey fans. Disappointingly, Zboril said most of it was coming from people in Boston that claim to be Bruins fans, and that it was like “people just spitting on you.”

“It was really pushing me down a lot,” said Zboril. “After some games when you know you weren’t playing really good, then you go on Twitter and you just see . . . people just spitting on you. So I had to delete it.”

Zboril said he’s much happier since getting off social media. But it’s a shame that a bright young prospect’s first impression of his future NHL city was the flaming dumpster of keyboard warriors that should forever be known as “Bruins Hockey Twitter.”

Wednesday, Sept. 28: Ex-Bruin Ruzicka in hot water

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Wednesday, Sept. 28: Ex-Bruin Ruzicka in hot water

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while fully ensconced in the Bruins' second exhibition game, on tap for tonight. 
 
-- It’s awesome to see Wayne Gretzky back in the mix with the NHL, and serving as “official ambassador” for the NHL’s centennial celebration. 
 
-- Tough times for former Bruins forward and former Czech national coach Vladimir Ruzicka, who was fined for some shady, fraudulent activity

-- Andrew Shaw announced his presence in Montreal with authority. The only thing missing from this WWE-type performance was a Hulkster hand to his ear before the threw a punch. 
 
-- A sad column from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Donnie Brennan, who says it’s time for Clarke MacArthur to retire after all the concussions. I remember writing the exact same thing about Marc Savard five or six years ago before he ultimately took one last big hit and retired. 
 
-- It sounds like old friend Vladimir Sobotka is going to stick in the KHL, and isn’t coming back to the St. Louis Blues as many suspected. 
 
-- For something completely different: A pretty fun Lyft commercial featuring David Ortiz, but how the hell did these people not recognize him?