VANCOUVER -- Mark Recchi's hockey career ended 160 miles from where he first started dreaming of winning the Stanley Cup.
Recchi, Boston's 43-year-old veteran from Kamloops, B.C., announced his retirement on the ice following his third Stanley Cup celebration.
Talk about the perfect way to go out.
"I started in British Columbia and to end it here, I couldn't ask for anything more," Recchi said after chipping in with an assist in Boston's 4-0 Cup-clinching victory Wednesday night. "The only thing is my parents couldn't be here today. My mom had an operation yesterday so they're back in Kamloops. I'm going to get on the phone with them real quick here."
Ruth Recchi's ankle pain was too severe for her to hold off on surgery any longer, so she had to miss her son's final day of glory as a hockey player. It still didn't stop Recchi from soaking in what may be the greatest moment of his 23-year career.
"I hope to stay in the game at some point, but I'm going to enjoy this," Recchi said. "I'm going to ride off into sunset and enjoy it."
Recchi didn't just go out as a bit player either. He was a major presence on the Bruins' second line along with Game 7 offensive heroes Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.
Recchi had 7 points in the Final, including 3 assists in Game 6. He finished the playoffs with 14 points in 25 games, only 2 fewer than he had in the same amount of games with Carolina during the 2006 Cup run. Recchi also had 34 points to help the Penguins win the Cup as a rookie in 1991.
His final career numbers read like this: 1,533 points in 1,652 regular season games and 148 points in 190 playoff games. He had 577 regular-season goals and another 61 in the playoffs.
"Obviously you want to end it the right way, and this has been a great ride," Recchi said. "These guys have pulled me along at times and I felt I pulled them along at times. That's what good teammates do and that's what good teams do. These guys in the Tampa series, they got us through it. I knew I'd be ready for this series."
"You know what, we've made some good deals here and that might have been the best deal we made, bringing Rex here," Chiarelli said. "Since he's come here he's helped the leadership group. He always goes to the dirty area and he scores. He's a clutch guy. He never stops competing."
Now he will, but Bruins coach Claude Julien doesn't expect Recchi will stray too far from Boston in retirement.
"I hope to stay in the game at some point, but I'm going to enjoy this. I'm going to ride off into sunset and enjoy it." -- Mark Recchi
"If he's done, he's done -- but I have a feeling he'll be close by and rooting us on anyway," Julien said. "I don't think he's going to disappear that quickly."
Recchi probably wants to stick around the Bruins as well. He called this team "one of the best groups I have ever played with.
"From day one they were committed and they stuck together," Recchi added. "Sometimes you go through turmoil with teams and you gut it out, but there was none of that. We were committed right from the get-go. We wanted to stick together and we did. We stuck together with our coaching staff. They had our backs and we had their backs. It was incredible."