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.