Saturday, June 9
Updated: June 10, 4:39 PM ET

Finally, Bourque now has it all

DENVER -- Before the media hordes descended on Ray Bourque, he sat exhausted in his locker-room stall.

As Bourque was talking with Avalanche color analyst Peter McNab, telling his former Bruins teammate from the early 1980s that he had to conduct his exclusive interview sitting down, someone placed the Stanley Cup directly on Bourque's lap.

Ray Bourque
After finally winning the Cup, Ray Bourque reportedly will call it a career.

The 40-year-old defenseman was caught in the emotion of the moment -- the 29:35 he played in Game 7 and the wear and tear of 1,826 NHL games over 22 seasons that finally produced a Stanley Cup victory.

And with his two sons flanked around him, Bourque had everything he ever wanted right in front of him. Family, friends -- and the Stanley Cup.

"This is only going to get better," Bourque said. "They (my family) are going to remember this forever -- it's so special."

Bourque's youngest son, Ryan, struggled to adjust to his new knee-length championship T-shirt and held onto his father's arm like an escort at a prom. Meanwhile, 15-year-old brother Chris stuck his face directly into the actual cup part of the trophy. When his face emerged, he just smiled. The Cup makes people do funny things.

"Fifteen months ago, we made a big move," said Bourque, referring to the process of leaving Boston last year and coming to Colorado. "(It was) quite a change -- and it was a sacrifice on everyone's part."

As Bourque finished that thought, the interlude ended as the press corps barreled into the locker room like a bunch of teens crashing the stage at an 'N Sync concert.

Sakic's Cup-giving gesture
If it weren't tradition to first hand the Cup to the winning team's captain, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman might have given it directly to Bourque. But since the league protects the Cup's tradition, Bettman handed the trophy to Joe Sakic, who immediately turned around and placed it in Bourque's hands.

"Joe tried to talk to me about what we would do if we won coming home from Jersey," Bourque said. "I wouldn't let him."

But Bourque certainly let Sakic hand him the Cup on Saturday night. With tears in his eyes, he hoisted the trophy several times, at first for himself -- then for the Colorado fans.

"At the end, he just wanted me to grab that Cup so bad. He's such a great leader."

Sakic remembers it a little differently, however.

"I talked to him before the year started, before training camp," Sakic said. "I told him we were going to win, (and) I wanted him to be the first one to lift it.

"After what he has accomplished in his career and to have the Cup, he is the one who deserved to lift it up first."

No matter what led to Sakic's gesture, it deeply touched Bourque.

"Joe is an unbelievable man," Bourque said. "To allow me to grab it that quick from him, that says it all."

The long wait to win
Forget about the 22 years Bourque waited to hoist the Stanley Cup. The wait to end Game 7 felt just as long.

"The last 10 minutes were so long," Bourque said. "Every time you looked up it felt like only two seconds ticked off. All night long it was really tough emotionally to keep it in.

"I couldn't breath the last 30 seconds, and it wasn't because I was tired."

To Boston and beyond
One of the first questions asked of Bourque was what he would do during the time with the Stanley Cup in his possession. Bourque hoped he'd get more than one day, and considering his service time, the Hall of Fame likely will grant Bourque whatever he wants.

If he gets two days, Bourque plans two stops: Boston and his native Montreal.

"I have to figure out how long I'll have with it," Bourque said. "It's going to be a great summer."

Thinking of his former team after winning the Cup with another might seem odd. Let's face it, Rob Blake probably won't share the Cup with the good people of Los Angeles. But Bourque left the Bruins after two decades of play, and Boston fans cheered for Colorado every bit as much as they would have for Boston.

"The fans, I can't thank them enough for their support," Bourque said. "Boston, Montreal, I just keep hearing so many different stories about people just pulling for me, and it is going to be unbelievable going back there this summer."

The future awaits
The summer also will be the time Bourque decides whether to return for another season. He was noncommittal on the subject after Saturday's game.

"I'm going to take two weeks, rest up, think about the future," he said. "Then, I'll let everybody know. We'll see."

The fairy-tale ending would dictate that Bourque ride into the sunset with the Stanley Cup in tow. But his teammates still think Bourque has a lot of hockey left in him.

"Based on his play, there is no reason why he should retire," Avs defenseman Rob Blake said. "He was probably our dominant defenseman all playoffs long."

Even though his plus-9 in the 2001 playoffs shows he's still an elite NHL defenseman, Bourque didn't want to think about next year. Not Saturday night. He had it all at that moment -- family, friends and the Cup.

"Lifting the Cup, what a feeling," he said. "I just can't describe it."

Brian A. Shactman covers the NHL for and can be reached at

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 After 22 years, Ray Bourque hoists the cup as the Avalanche are presented the Stanley Cup Trophy (Courtesy: ABC Sports).
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