BOSTON – Before the Bruins boarded the duck boats for their victory parade through the streets of Boston, they held a brief rally outside the TD Garden. Here’s a sampling of what was said.
* Team president Cam Neely: “It’s finally our time. How amazing is this, guys?”
”You want to talk about a team? This is a team, right here. To watch these guys grow from Prague all the way to the last game in Vancouver, their development, how they bonded, the character of these guys, it’s a great, great, great group of players. They have a deep affection for each other and it showed on the ice. Congratulations guys. You guys deserve everything.
“Also, we can’t thank you, the fans, enough. It’s such a privilege for our players to play in front of you guys. The support you guys give us all year long has been incredible. You guys have waited too long for this. But enjoy it. Enjoy the heck out of this.”
* Team owner Jeremy Jacobs: “What an incredible day in this city. What an incredible day in the Commonwealth and for all of New England. I just want to say: Lord Stanley. Thirty-nine years. Welcome home!
“This whole journey started in Prague 107 games ago and it wound up in Vancouver with the Stanley Cup. It couldn’t have been a more magical trip. I’m so incredibly proud of the players. They’ve come together as the strongest team this storied franchise has ever had. It was one of those types of teams that everybody contributed.
“Think about that fourth line and how much that meant. When others dismissed it, we rode it and they delivered.”
“I want to recognize Cam Neely. He is such a great role model for the players and the organization. He is the heart and soul of what a Bruin means. You couldn’t have a better leader. On top of it, he brought us a Stanley Cup, something he couldn’t do while he was skating [joking].”
“The wait is over. The Cup is yours. Let’s celebrate!”
* General manager Peter Chiarelli: “You guys are the best fans in the world. I think I can speak for [the players], that you guys make us better. You make the players better, you make management better and you make the coaches better. “
* Mark Recchi: “We started in Vermont from training camp. Went to Prague. We played together, we drank together, we lost together and never wavered. But the one thing we really did together? We won! Thanks for the patience on the 39 years. The next one will come a lot quicker.”
* Coach Claude Julien: “The Stanley Cup was won by these guys here, but it belongs to you guys out here. So enjoy it and enjoy the day.
“On a personal note, I would like to thank Terry Francona, Bill Belichick and Doc Rivers for the support they’ve given me personally throughout these playoffs. Even before winning a championship they made me feel like I was part of their group. But now at least with a championship you really feel like you belong.”
* Zdeno Chara: “Thank you for all the support you’ve given us the whole season. We couldn’t have done it without you. When I signed here 5 years ago I signed because I believed in this team. I want to thank Mr. Jacobs, Charlie, Jeremy. It was a rough start. A couple of bumps along the way to this point, but it’s fantastic to be standing here Stanley Cup champions.
“I have to go back to a conversation I had with Cam [Neely] in September when we were in Prague. I promised him when we won the Cup I’d hand it to him. So, here you go Cam … [hands the Cup to Neely]”
* Patrice Bergeron: “What an amazing feeling it is to be here right now. This is great. I’m so proud to say that we’re the team that brought the Stanley Cup back to Boston, where it belongs.
“You guys have been saying a chant during the playoffs about ‘We want the Cup’. Well, you know what? We got the Cup! We got the Cup!”
* Brad Marchand: “Thank you Boston!”
* Tim Thomas: “You guys wanted it. We got it. And we want to share it with you today. The whole city, the whole Northeast, everyone who supported us. Let’s have some fun!”