"I only have a few things to say," said goaltender Tim Thomas
before the team and supporters boarded 18 Duck Boats. "I want to say, you guys wanted it, we got it and we want to share it with you today.
"The whole city, the whole Northeast, everyone who supported us, let’s have some fun."
In addition to the full team and executives, Blades, the Bruins mascot, Rene Rancourt and Ron Poster, the Bruins official organist, the B's Ice Girls and members of the Bruins and TD Garden staff all traveled by Duck Boat as well.
Everyone had a blast.
"This is for you guys, you know this is your day," said alternate captain Patrice Bergeron
. "Enjoy it, have fun. Thank you for all the support.
"You guys have been believing, you guys have been behind us through the lows and highs and this is it. And you know, you guys have been waiting thirty-nine years for this but it’s here and I hope it’s going to be here again and again. And next time I hope we’re going to do this in Boston.
"And you guys have been saying a chant during the playoffs about ‘We want the Cup,’ well you know what, ‘We got the Cup, We got the Cup, We got the Cup.’"
"You guys have been saying a chant during the playoffs about ‘We want the Cup,’ well you know what, ‘We got the Cup, We got the Cup, We got the Cup.’" - Patrice Bergeron
Bergeron's chant began in the parking lot of TD Garden and reverberated on all the way to the John Hancock Tower over the Charles River and back to the West End.
"It was more overwhelming than I expected," said forward Shawn Thorton. "It was an unbelievable turnout.
"I didn’t know that many people lived in Boston, let alone be on the streets today.
"It was an awesome, awesome experience," he said.
And the fans made it awesome -- but that was no shock.
General Manager Peter Chiarelli was praising B's supporters even before he saw the hundreds of thousands of people who had come to Boston to greet the Black & Gold.
"Thank you everybody for coming, it’s going to be a great day today," he said. "You guys are the best fans in the world. And I think I can speak for these guys, that you guys make us better.
"You make the players better, you make the management better, you make the coaches better. And for that I appreciate it."
Defenseman Shane Hnidy, who has played elsewhere in the NHL and is in his second stint with the B's, was thrilled to return to the Bruins this spring, and lauded the fans post-parade.
"It was amazing," he said. "Just the support of the fans and to see the passion in their faces when you go by some people is just 'true.'
"You know it’s great," he added. "These fans are hard-working fans and that’s the kind of team we were.
"We were built for this city and to win and to go out and celebrate with everyone is amazing."
Defenseman Tomas Kaberle, who joined the Bruins at the trade deadline, could hardly find the words to describe the scene.
"It seems like all the people had a lot of fun and that is what it’s all about," he said. " You play for the fans and you want to do well.
"Obviously, it took thirty-nine years for Boston to do it and it seems like it was the right moment."
In true Boston fashion, veteran Bruin Shawn Thornton
-- now a year-long Boston resident -- said training for 2011-12 starts soon, but the B's will enjoy this moment for just a little longer.
"I’ll rest for the next couple weeks," he said. "I’ve been through this before, so I kind of know what it takes.
"Guys probably won’t be in as good of shape, I guess weight room wise, coming into the start of the season. But I think that’s worth it for us, being able to go this long.
"It’s going to be a short summer, but it’ll be a good one in Boston. That’s for sure."