Bruins, Cup part of pregame festivities

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Boston Bruins' final public appearance with the Stanley Cup was a big one.

About 20 players, wearing their traditional black-and-gold jerseys, showed off the Stanley Cup in front of about 60,000 adoring fans at Gillette Stadium before the New England Patriots took on the New York Jets.

The Bruins assembled just behind the north end zone, underneath the inflatable helmet that serves as the launching point for the Patriots for their home games. After a montage of Stanley Cup-winning moments were flashed across the message board, the Bruins dashed to midfield. Once they had assembled there, goalie Tim Thomas emerged from the tunnel and joined them. And a moment later, captain Zdeno Chara walked out of the tunnel, holding the Stanley Cup in both hands, over his head.

Chara sauntered to midfield, and after showing the fans the Cup, he handed it off to teammates to hold, as Nathan Horton took a water bottle and squirted water onto the Patriots’ logo, ostensibly for good luck in New England’s game against the Jets, reminiscent of his playoff ploy of carting water from the TD Garden in a bottle and squirting it onto the Vancouver Canucks’ ice before Game 7 of the Cup finals.

Then the Bruins made their way over to the Patriots’ sideline, where they were greeted by Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who shook hands with several of them as the Bruins pulled off their sweaters, revealing the Patriots’ jerseys they were wearing underneath.

Thomas and Chara accompanied the Patriots’ captains onto the field for the pregame coin toss, along with the Stanley Cup, which sat on the Pats’ logo as the coin was flipped into the air. New England won the toss and deferred, opting to kick off to the Jets.

Besides Chara, Thomas and Horton, among the other Bruins spotted were Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic, Adam McQuaid, Dennis Seidenberg, Matt Bartkowski, Andrew Ference and Tuukka Rask.

At the team’s practice before heading to Gillette, Bruins coach Claude Julien indicated this would be the final time the team would appear with the Stanley Cup.

"This should be the last time with our team going around with the Stanley Cup," Julien said. "This is where we really turn the page."