BOSTON -- Washington Capitals forward and Chelmsford, Mass., native Keith Aucoin sat at his locker stall in the visitor’s dressing room Wednesday morning at TD Garden and talked about the Boston Red Sox.
The local boy who grew up watching the Boston Bruins and Red Sox is now trying to help the Capitals dethrone the defending Stanley Cup champions.
The Capitals had just concluded the morning skate as the team made its final preparations for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals series against the Bruins when Aucoin, 33, was asked to describe what it’s been like to play in his first Stanley Cup playoff series.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Aucoin said. “It’s been a tight series, but anytime you can play at home and play in front of your family and friends the way I’ve been able to do in my first Stanley Cup playoff series has been a lot of fun. To go to a Game 7 just makes it that much more interesting. It’s going to be a lot of fun tonight.”
Aucoin has enjoyed an interesting hockey career. The 5-foot-8, 171-pound forward spent his collegiate career at Norwich University and helped the Cadets win the 2000 Division III National Championship.
He turned pro and became a mainstay in the AHL and even played two season for the Providence Bruins, but was never called up to Boston despite impressive numbers for the P-Bruins.
During the 2002-2003 season, Aucoin registered 25 goals and 49 assists for 74 points in 78 games in Providence. During the NHL lockout season (2004-2005), he played again in Providence and posted 21 goals and 45 assists for 66 points in 72 games.
He made his NHL debut with the Carolina Hurricanes during their Cup winning season in 2005-2006.
In total he’s played in seven different minor league cities, but he found a fit in the Capitals organization when he signed as a free agent in 2008. Since then he’s played a total of 49 games for the Capitals, but has spent the majority of the time with the Hershey Bears.
He’s won a Calder Cup with the Bears (2009) and he’s now playing in his first Stanley Cup playoff series.
“I’ve played in a lot of big games,” Aucoin said. “I’ve played in the Calder Cup finals, a national championship, but there’s no bigger stage than a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup playoffs. This will probably be one of my biggest stages and I’m looking forward to it.
“There’s been so much going on just being back in my hometown, and obviously playing in Providence for two years and never getting a chance [with the Bruins], so that was tough. But my main goal is to go out there and win and have fun. It’s been one of those experiences I’ll never forget and it’ll be great to cap it off with a win in Game 7 tonight.”
Aucoin was a teammate with Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas when both played in Providence during the 2002-2003 season.
“Timmy was a really good teammate to me when I played with him,” Aucoin said. “To see the way his career has ended up, to win a Stanley Cup last year was phenomenal for him. I was rooting for him. I know him personally, so when you see a guy who had to work his way up the way he did, just like I did, it’s a guy you root for and I was really happy for him last year.”
Aucoin is hoping he can help the Capitals beat Thomas and the defending Cup champions Wednesday night on Garden ice.