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A Little Late, But Very Special

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins -- No doubt everyone heard about the false start to Nathan Horton's day with the Stanley Cup and how hockey's Holy Grail somehow got stuck between Boston and Buffalo.

However, nobody will be shocked to learn that the slow beginning didn't hamper Horton's enjoyment of his special day with Stanley.

"It finished a lot better, I mean, I was a little worried how it was going to work out but everything actually worked out fine," said Horton via cell phone earlier this week. "It actually couldn’t have been better.

"Better late than never, you know? So, it worked out great. I got to see all of my old friends and family and everything was awesome."

Horton was outstanding during his first year with Boston, and reached the 20-goal mark for the sixth straight season and the 50-plus point plateau for the fourth time. Horton also tied for the NHL's fourth-highest plus/minus rating at plus-29.

But before a concussion suffered during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final that cut his postseason short, Horton was nothing short of awesome in the playoffs.

With five multiple-point playoff games, a "Gordie Howe" hat trick on May 4 vs. Philadelphia and three game-winning goals in a 8-9-17 line during 21 postseason contests, the right wing was pivotal to the B's run to the Cup.

But it was Horton's positive attitude that helped his teammates through the campaign's lean moments and it was that same persistant smile, which carried him through a few trying moments on July 18.

"I rushed back," said Horton of his trip back to Dunnville, Ontario without Lord Stanley's silver bowl. "The parade was on hold for like 45 minutes because I was so late, waiting, wanting to know what to do without the Cup.

"I finally made it back and everyone waited for me, everyone that was involved with the parade waited and we did the parade without the Cup...and we did a little autograph signing.

"Then, finally, the Cup came. So that’s why it worked out pretty well. Everyone was happy to see it and it was perfect."

Horton took the Cup back to his childhood hometown and said it was fun to see people who he had grown up with in the crowd that greeted him in Dunnville.

"Yea it was," he said. "I mean, it’s a small town, a small community so everyone knows each other.

"There’s obviously some different faces that I haven’t met before, because I haven’t been back for a while.

"But there were lot of the same people that it was nice to see because I haven’t seen them for a long time," he said.

The Cup arrived in town as Horton finished his impromptu autograph signing.

"I was just waiting, hoping it was coming real soon and it finally showed up and it had pulled in and I went to grab it and everyone was excited, once I brought that Cup out, for me to raise it and for everyone to see it and have it in the town of Dunnville," he said.

And Dunnville hosted the Cup in style.

"It was at a little bandshell downtown," he said. "It was really nice.

"[Thanks to] all the people that helped out, it was an amazing day.

"I never thought it would be that nice that’s for sure."

Nicer still was Horton's being able to introduce the Cup to many friends and family throughout the area.

"Yea I actually went to see my dad [Bryan]," said Horton of his next stop. "He was in [Niagara] Falls so, I went to his town and he had a couple people to see.

"First, I took it to the police station and took some pictures where he works, then went back to his house and he had a few friends and family there to take some pictures and just kind of to hang out and take some pictures and autographs. So it was a pretty busy day so far and I was there until about 6:30 or 7:00 p.m.

"Then I went to see my friend [former Providence Bruins forward Sean Bentivoglio]," continued Horton. "I played hockey with him growing up and my whole life pretty much.

"I went to his house and we had a little party with the Cup and again, did some pictures and did some autographs with the people that I grew up with and just kind of relaxed from there."

Horton said that reconnecting with his family in Canada -- especially his dad, mom (Georgina), sister (Michelle) and nephew (Rylan) -- with his wife Tammy and son Dylan was special on a day full of special moments.

"I mean, I don’t want to pick just one," said Horton when asked to pinpoit a favorite. "It was just obviously nice to see my parents and see my friends that I grew up with and really, for them to be there with me for the day and really enjoy it, it’s pretty special when you get a day with it with your family."

Bruins fans will also enjoy this special news: Horton is feeling better.

"You know what, I’m feeling good," he said. "I don’t think I feel any different right now.

"I mean, I haven’t had any problems so hopefully that continues to be good and I’ll be fine."

Horton also confided that he is working out.

"Yeah a little bit," he said, "making sure everything is good

"I’m not training real, real hard yet but I’m obviously, I’m going to be doing it real soon.

"So far through my workouts that I’ve done, it’s been pretty good," he said.
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