|06.19.11 at 6:00 pm ET|
Chara and Thomas were on the lead duck boat of four that were in the processional that began by entering through the center field wall about 15 minutes before first pitch.
Chara was holding up the Stanley Cup for nearly the entire time during the procession around Fenway.
After making one round around Fenway, the players departed in the center field triangle and made their way to the infield with the Stanley Cup, in addition to the Eastern Conference trophy and the Conn Smythe trophy, earned by Thomas as the MVP of the Stanley Cup playoff run.
The pre-game ceremony was capped off by all members of the Bruins throwing simultaneous first pitches to the Red Sox players, who stood in a line from dugout to dugout behind home plate.
|06.18.11 at 5:39 pm ET|
The city of Boston has waited 39 years. The fans win.
To be able to bring the Cup to Boston has been special for Ference and his teammates, who feel they can identify with fans now more than ever. It’s what they have in common, Ference feels, that makes the city’s celebration of the Cup even more special.
“I just feel like everybody feels like we do,” Ference said Saturday. “We’ve waited our whole lives to win it, and put in a lot of work and dedication and we finally get to raise the Cup, but all the hockey fans here have put in their hard work, too, supporting the teams and waiting so long. It’s amazing how many people come up and introduce themselves as season ticket-holders for x-number of years. That’s hard work. That’s support and that’s incredible dedication to the sport and to the team. Of course they’re as excited as we are, so it’s amazing.”
Ference, who took the Cup through Boston in a stroller, earlier in the week, said it was total blur when he raised the trophy for the first time.
“It really happened so quick, and even the whole time on the ice is just kind of a blur and busy. You’re in disbelief. It was great on the ice, but it was more fun almost in the locker room after to real savor it. On the ice, you’re really just hoping for a good picture so you can put it on the wall.”
LAY OFF THE JACKET
Ference said Saturday that his team drew no motivation from the lack of respect it received during the Stanley Cup finals, but did not that he was surprised that players such as Kevin Bieksa bad-mouthed them to the media.
Bieksa, of course, made fun of the 1980’s jacket that Ference bought on eBay for $35 — a hideous sight to any eyes — that one player wears after each game to denote the team’s most valuable player. Bieksa called the tradition childish, asking, “Don’t Pee Wee teams have that?”
“It just surprised me that he would say that publicly,” Ference said Saturday. “How does that benefit them? I don’t know. Even if you think it, you can chirp us all you want in your own locker room. Publicly, it’s just more surprising. I didn’t care, it doesn’t hurt our feelings. We love it and what it represents. Yeah, just to say some things publicly were surprising because it does absolutely no good for your own team.”
The Bruins got the last laugh, of course, as the Stanley Cup ended up wearing the jacket as the team celebrated in the visitors room at Rogers Arena Wednesday.
NOT ALL VANCOUVER FANS ARE BAD
Aside from a chorus of boos for commissioner Gary Bettman, the Canucks fans were respectful of the Bruins when they won the Cup, cheering as Zdeno Chara lifted the historic trophy, and getting louder for the likes of Tim Thomas and Vancouver native Milan Lucic. The Green Men, who famously harass opponents, even held a “Congrats Milan” sign. Ference said he and the Bruins appreciated how they were treated by the fans, and that the riots that ensued don’t typify all those who root for the Canucks.
“As much as bad stuff happened from some people there, there’s still some great, great hockey fans that respect the game,” Ference said. “You don’t want to taint everybody from what a few people messed up after the game.”
|06.18.11 at 4:18 pm ET|
Recchi did offer a peek into where is mind is as he wraps his playing days, however.
“I’d like to stay in the game,” Recchi said. “We’ll see where that takes me. I’ll take a little time off. I’d like to stay in the game somewhat. I like more the management side. I like the building process, building a team. We’ll see where it takes [me].”
Recchi, who said he likes to “figure out the pieces of the puzzle,” said that Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli has done a fine job of that since coming to Boston in 2006.
“The pieces are all set there again,” Recchi said of the team’s future. “The way Peter set this organization up is incredible. They’ve got the No. 9 pick this year. They just keep stockpiling. It’s set up — the franchise — to be real successful for a long time. He did an incredible job.”
For Recchi to go from the ice to a front office would be nothing out of the ordinary, as many current NHL general managers are former players. While Chiarelli never reached the NHL as a player, president Cam Neely used his role as a means of winning his first Stanley Cup after a Hall-of-Fame playing career with the Canucks and Bruins.
Speaking of the Hall, it’s safe to say that is also in Recchi’s future. The 43-year-old finished his career with 577 goals and 956 assists for 1533 points. His 1652 regular season games place him fourth all time, behind only Gordie Howe (1,767), Mark Messier (1,756) and Ron Francis (1,731). He is 25th all-time with 61 playoff goals.
|06.18.11 at 3:40 pm ET|
That’s exactly what Thornton and his buddies did with Lord Stanley on Friday – a day before the biggest “Rolling Rally” in Boston history – as they just hung out in his Boston home and had a few beverages and soaked it all in.
“Just kept looking at it,” Thornton said. “Nothing was forced, it was just relaxing, pretty cool.
“The best part is I had it at my house [Friday] for about an hour, hour and a half, just me and the guy who lives downstairs, my neighbor and a couple of friends, just chillin’ out, having a couple of drinks. Being able to settle down, it was good.”
Thornton – who won the Cup in 2007 with the Ducks – had the Cup out at a couple of establishments as well in Boston. Safe to say, there was a little more attention paid to it in Beantown than Disneyland.
“When we had the Cup out the other day at Tia’s and Stella’s and a couple of other places, compared to Anaheim, we had it on the beach on Newport and there was like 20 people looking at it,” Thornton said. “Pretty much looked at it as a rec league trophy. Nobody knew any different. Having helicopters over Tia’s is probably a little bit different, yes.”
Thornton – who admitted to be “blurry” after the last two days of celebrating – wore Mardi Gras-type beads to Saturday’s rally, joining several other Bruins doing the same on the duck boats.
“They gave them to me,” he said. “I’m not throwing them unless you deserve them. That’s all I’m going to say.”
|06.18.11 at 3:11 pm ET|
“They’re all special in different ways,” Recchi said before getting on a duck boat and going for the three-mile joyride of his career. “To go out on top is something very special and you never forget. Regardless of what would’ve happened in Game 7, this was going to be one of the best groups I ever played with anyway. To get that chance to win with them is incredible.
“They were different. Obviously, ’91 was a long time ago. It wasn’t a parade, we were down at a point down in Pittsburgh. We had a parade in Carolina, which was really good, but not like today. This is something really special.”
The outpouring affected each and every Bruins player, coach and executive on the duck boats Saturday. For the 43-year-old Recchi, it was an amazing feeling.
“It’s incredible,” he said. “It’s such a great sports town anyway. With the Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots all winning in the last 10 years and for the Bruins to do it now – and it’s been a long time, 39 years – it’s great to be a championship city again. There’s nothing better.”
“ was the same thing,” Recchi said. “I was able to just watch the guys react, how react to things, how they feel under pressure. That’s the great thing about it. Now these guys start the playoffs, and hopefully, they get back into this position again and they’ll be able to enjoy it that much more.”
But all of the joy aside Saturday, he said he’s have absolutely no thoughts of extending his career one more season with the Bruins.
“No, that’s it,” Recchi said definitively, though he noted he would like to stay in the game in some sort of management role.
Has he officially contacted the Bruins about a front office gig?
“Oh no, I haven’t talked to anybody about that,” Mark Recchi. “We’ve been having too much fun.”
|06.18.11 at 2:44 pm ET|
Bruins center Marc Savard was able to make it to Boston from his Peterborough, Ontario home to celebrate the team’s Stanley Cup victory with his teammates at Saturday’s rolling rally. That’s the good news for Savard, who is still suffering from post-concussion syndrome after being concussed twice over the past two seasons.
Savard, who has six more years on his contract, did not indicate whether he plans to retire or try to make a return next season, saying he did not want to take to become the story on a day in which the city was celebrating the city’s first Cup in 39 years.
“It’s really the furthest thing from my mind right now to be honest with you,” the two-time All-Star said Saturday of potentially returning in the fall. “I just want to enjoy it here and let the boys take the spotlight here because they earned it.”
As for his current status, he said he has seen some improvements since his most recent concussion, suffered in January in a game against the Avalanche, but did note that his short-term memory problems have been “terrible.”
“I’m feeling better. I mean I still have my days here and there,” Savard said. “But it’s been tough, that’s for sure, especially watching and stuff like that.”
Savard did not make the trip to Vancouver to watch Game 7 of the finals. Plane rides can be bad for people with concussions, and though Nathan Horton, who also had a concussion, travelled, one would imagine Savard’s symptoms were worse.
“It was a long flight and stuff like that. So I just stayed at home,” Savard said. “It was a weird feeling, I was kind of around for a couple of games at home, I didn’t really want to just stick my nose in it, I know the boys earned it. So I didn’t want to take any of the spotlight or anything away from anybody that worked so hard.”
General manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday that he will petition to have both Savard and Steven Kampfer’s names on the Stanley Cup. Savard played only 25 games of the required 41 games (or one Stanley Cup finals game), while Kampfer played in 38.
“That’s special,” Savard said of potentially being on the Cup. “Like I said, Peter has been fantastic with me ever since I came here in day one. And he was one of the reasons I did come. So I mean, words can’t explain it right now. It’s been a long road that’s for sure.”
|06.18.11 at 2:21 pm ET|
The city of Boston has celebrated world championship teams before with a “rolling rally” like it did on Saturday but never did so many fans turn out. When the city rolled out the duck boats for a three-mile rally route from TD Garden to Copley Square, fans as deep as 20 rows lined the streets to celebrate the 2011 Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.
“Mayhem, but all good,” Bruins President Cam Neely said in describing the day. “These fans have waited a long, long time for this. They deserve this. Today is their day to really celebrate it, which is really great.”
Boston Police estimated the crowd at over 1,000,000 and city officials said that it eclipsed the 2004 “Rain Rally” on Oct. 30, 2004 when the city and region celebrated the first World Series title in 86 years. Neely’s Bruins became the seventh Boston team to be celebrated and honored with a duck boat rally, joining the 2001, ’03 and ’04 Patriots, the ’04 and ’07 Red Sox and the ’08 Celtics.
“Just how mentally draining it’s been. You live and breathe for every game, especially when you have four elmination games. I’m proud of the guys for what they did.”
“It’s nice that people feel that way. I came here when I was 21 and grew up here and have a huge passion for the Bruins and the players who played before me and the players I played with and the organization in general. And our fan base took me in and showed their passion for the team and the players. So, to finally win it for them has been an incredible experience.”
“It’s really sweet for everyone that’s put some time and effort in. The people in the back office, work extremely hard, don’t get the recognition. Obviously, all the players, coaches, GMs, it’s going to be a very sweet day for us.”
Neely said he and the organization have yet to come down completely from their epic 4-0 win over Vancouver in British Columbia last Wednesday in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.
“It’s been fantastic, just the excitement the whole city has,” he said. “It’s kind of sunk in but hasn’t really sunk in yet. It’s been an incredible experience so far. I was driving in [Friday] and all I kept thinking is, ‘We’re Stanley Cup champs.’ You drive in, you think it’s a normal day but you’re Stanley Cup champs. It keeps running through your head. It’s starting to sink in but it hasn’t fully sunk in.”