Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk kept a diary for ESPNBoston.com all season and during the playoffs. His final edition gets into all the celebrating that’s been going on since the Bruins won the Stanley Cup -- from postgame to the parade to Fenway to Foxwoods and finally back home. -- As told to Louise K. Cornetta
To the fans, thank you for all the support. Thank you for cheering us on even when we weren’t doing very well. You guys are a big part of the reason we won the Stanley Cup.
I already got a tattoo! I got it on my ribs. It just says, “Stanley Cup Champions, Boston Bruins” with the date that we won it, no image of the Cup, just words. I think it’s perfect.
Winning the Stanley Cup was unbelievable, really a dream come true. I will remember everything for the rest of my life. As the final seconds ticked down in Game 7, I was on the bench and had my helmet off already. I was ready to get on the ice and celebrate. The first thing I wanted to do was get to Tim [Thomas], but everybody was just hugging and grabbing each other. Everyone was just so happy. Then Z [Zdeno Chara] hoisted the Cup. I was on the blue line watching him. Everybody was excited to go and grab it and get in line to get your hands on it. I don’t even remember who handed me the Cup, I know I handed it to [Adam] McQuaid. When I got to hoist the Cup I remember thinking this is heavier than I thought it was going be. Then I gave it a kiss.
I can’t believe my name is going to be on the Stanley Cup. I just hope they spell my name right. I can’t wait to get a ring as well. We should get those the day we hoist the banner up at the Garden.
My fiancée, mom, dad and two brothers were all there to celebrate with me. Everyone had tears of joy when they saw me with the Cup. I think we went through every emotion imaginable. I want to thank my family, who has been there with me since I started playing hockey.
What will stick with me forever is seeing everyone’s reaction then my teammates' reactions. This was such a close group of guys. I think every one of the guys on the team were friends. You couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to win the Stanley Cup with.
The dressing room after we won was an amazing scene. All of our families, the guys spraying champagne and drinking out of the Cup is what stood out to me. I don’t know if anyone actually got to drink any because it was being sprayed everywhere. I remember hugging everybody and giving high-fives and handshakes. It was something that I will never forget. Then to see someone like Rex [Mark Recchi] there, knowing it was his last game, was special. He is going to be a Hall of Famer, everyone knows that. For him to go out on top, you can’t ask for a better thing for him than that. He deserved that and I am really going to miss him. He also got the windbreaker for the final win. Then the Stanley Cup wore the windbreaker, that was funny.
The Cup even made it into the showers with all of us. The locker room must have been a disaster after we were done. What was happening outside too in Vancouver was just crazy. We didn’t have any problems getting out though, as we had a police escort. They did a good job on that.
I want to go over some of the highlights of the final. There were three big keys this series. The first was home ice advantage; glad that came to an end in Game 7. I don’t know why we couldn’t score in Vancouver until then. I think we were playing hard and playing smart, but maybe it was not getting in front of their goalie or capitalizing on the chances we did have.
The second key to this series was how physical it was. Take Bitegate. Well, I think we can all laugh at it now, [and] I think it’s something I’ll probably forget about. What I will say is I would never do it. I know people have remarked about my hit on [Ryan] Kesler. I didn’t even really notice much about it except I thought it was a good hit. I didn’t know that he got hurt that badly or that it affected him too much but everybody keeps telling me it did.
I am so happy that my collision with Mason Raymond ends with knowing he is going to be OK. Through the playoffs, I didn’t read or listen to anything. So when that did happen, I didn’t really know what was being said. I would never mean to do anything like that to anybody, even if it is the playoffs. I’m happy he’s OK even if it will be three months before he’ll recover. At least he’s OK and able to walk.
Then on our end, the hit on [Nathan] Horton seemed to change everything in this series. I had just changed and was looking at the ice. To see your best friend lying on the ice and then be carried off in a stretcher, you don’t know what to do. I was shocked. He is one of our best players. I think our team stepped up for him. Then when he came back to the Garden and was waving that towel, the standing ovation was unbelievable. He got a well-deserved standing ovation because he was one of the big reasons we were in the Stanley Cup finals. People might not even remember that he scored very, very, very crucial goals for our team. We certainly wouldn’t have been there without him and everyone on this team knew that. How about him pouring some Garden ice on Vancouver ice? I didn’t know he was going to do that! I saw that afterward, that was sneaky. Well, he tried to be sneaky but they caught him on camera.
The final key is obviously Tim Thomas. What can I say about him? His play during the season was phenomenal. Then for him to step up in the playoffs and play even better than he did in the regular season, that’s one of the main reasons why we got to even hold the Cup. It was a team effort but he really stepped his game up. Even if we had lost, he would have won the Conn Smythe Trophy because he was the MVP of the playoffs, and for me, personally, he was during the regular season too.
Tim off the ice is someone that if you didn’t know who he was, you would think he was just a regular person, that’s his character. He’s such a genuine, down-to-earth kind of guy. I’m happy for all the success he’s had this year. When [Roberto] Luongo made those comments about soft goals and not getting enough credit, I think he was just trying to get inside our heads. I heard about it and I think he was maybe trying to rattle us, but, you know, we just didn’t bite on that.
As soon as we got home, I shaved the beard. I didn’t even go to sleep when we got home, I was too excited to sleep. So I went and got my beard shaved off.
It’s really nice to complete the cycle of every Boston team winning a championship in the past six years. We hadn’t won it for what seemed like forever for the Bruins. Now everyone has won a championship. It’s just phenomenal what the city of Boston has gotten to see. You might not get to see another one for a while, but we certainly hope they do. Our fans totally deserved this.
With the parade, I couldn’t believe how many people were there, how loud they were, and all the support we had. Our fans were chanting and screaming; there were so many people there, too. I looked down the side of the boat to see how much further we had to go and all I saw was a swarm of people everywhere. I was on the last boat, which was the only boat not to get the Stanley Cup on it! They forgot about us. My boat was me, Dennis Seidenberg and [Assistant coach] Doug Houda.
I’m home in Edmonton now. But when I was back in Boston for the past few days, all you could see was Bruins stuff. Usually it was Red Sox. Even when we were inside the Red Sox dressing room, they had all Bruins gear on. It was awesome to see. I was with the Cup when the team took it places, but I didn’t take it anywhere by myself. I think [Brad] Marchand didn’t let it out of his sight.
The whole team went to Foxwoods Casino on Friday night. The infamous bottle of $100,000 champagne, I thought it was meh. I wouldn’t want to have it again. I’m not a champagne connoisseur, but it was cool to try it at least. It was nice to get the guys together one last time. A lot of guys were leaving shortly after that. A lot of people needed to get back to their off-season homes, where they hadn’t been in 10 months.
I think you know by now what a big Red Sox fan I am. So being able to bring the Cup to Fenway on Sunday was awesome. I got to walk with the Cup and kiss it at Fenway Park and got to throw out an opening pitch. It can’t get better than that. I was so excited to be there that I don’t even remember who I threw the opening pitch to. Then we got to hang in their dressing room before the game and got to meet them all. I didn’t let on I was such a big fan because I didn’t want to be a nerd. I wanted to play it cool.
This summer, I am going to get married. Then it will be time to get back in shape so we can go and try and win another one. For my day with the Cup, it will be in Edmonton. I may keep it low key and just have it with friends and family and keep it a small group. I have thought about it, but I can’t put my finger on what I want to do with it. I might just want to go for a nap with it!
Winning the Stanley Cup has taught me that, to do it, it takes a lot of hard work. It’s also about teamwork and not about one individual.
What’s next for us? I hope to win another one. I know it seems early in my career to win the Stanley Cup, but it hasn’t come easy. I spent five years in the minors and now it’s my second year here. I’m well traveled. The best lesson I learned though is it’s nice knowing dreams can come true.