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Bruins have hat trick of honors to hail the 'Chief'

NHL.com @NHL

BOSTON (AP) -The Boston Bruins completed the hat trick for John "Chief" Bucyk on Tuesday night, giving the Hall of Fame forward a third night in his honor to commemorate his 50th anniversary with the team.

The last Bruins captain to skate with the Stanley Cup, Bucyk was given a gold watch by current captain Zdeno Chara before Boston's game against the Edmonton Oilers. The Bruins played with Bucyk's No. 9 on their jerseys, and highlights from his career were shown during the game.

"It's very exciting. I never thought there was another thing they could do for me," Bucyk said. "I've had two nights already, they had my number retired, I'm in the Hall of Fame and now this."

Bucyk was also honored in 1968, when the team feared he might have to retire because of a back injury. But he stuck around and, along with Bobby Orr, led the Bruins to the 1970 and '72 Stanley Cup championships.

"The 1970 Cup. To me that was the highlight of my career as a player," he said. "You wait, and you want your name on the Cup. That was a great honor, and being the captain I was the one who accepted it and was the one who skated around the rink with it."

Bucyk retired as the team's leading scorer, a mark that was surpassed by defenseman Ray Bourque in 1997. The Chief remains Boston's goal scoring leader, compiling 16 seasons of 20 or more goals, receiving two Lady Byng Trophies, and appearing in seven NHL All-Star Games. He was the fifth NHL player to score 50 goals with 100 points in a season.

A second night was dedicated to him in 1980, when his No. 9 was retired; a year later, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

On Tuesday, Bucyk was back on the ice for a pregame ceremony. This time while wearing a full Indian headdress.

"Hail to the Chief" was played on the organ in recognition of the nickname Bucyk was given by teammate Bronco Horvath when he was breaking in during the 1950s. Bucyk shook hands and posed with former Bruins stars Johnny McKenzie, Terry O'Reilly, Cam Neely, and Bourque.

Bucyk played for the Bruins from 1957-78, worked in the broadcast booth and is now the team's road service coordinator. He has also been active in community service through the Boston Bruins Alumni Association.

"I am really enjoying this season. I hope and I think it will happen - that this team will turn around," he said. "Still, we have a lot of time to make (the) playoffs. I hope they can string some games together and get us back there into the playoffs. I think the wheel will turn."

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