Andrew Ference spoke to the media on the team's final day at Rexall Place before departing for the off-season. One of the questions he was asked surrounded giving Ryan Smyth the captaincy for his final game on Saturday.
“You’ve got to go back about a month, talking with Langer (Jeff Lang), our trainer there. Just trying to get a feed on where Smytty’s head was at. The two of us were pestering him about his intentions for the next few years. With him tying the power play record and stuff, we wanted to do a few special things.
"He’s been bugging Langer for a skate sharpener for about two years. We figured a good gift from the boys would be that. I talked to Langer at the same time about, if he is retiring, he’s wearing the C for sure. That was definitely in line for awhile."
Ference had the discussions with Jeff Langer, but also was approached by head coach Dallas Eakins.
"Dallas called me to his office a few days ago and you could tell he was uncomfortable. He wasn’t really spitting it out, he said ‘I’ve got an idea, I don’t know how to say this or approach this’ and so I stopped and got a feeling what he was thinking. I asked him if it was that and then he said ‘perfect, we’re on the same page.’
"It’s a no brainer. The guy is a legend. It’s about as easy a decision as you could ever have. To see a guy go out like that, it’s the first time in my career where I’ve seen a retirement that is like that. I was with Recchi and he knew he was going to retire but you’re in the playoffs, it’s different. The focus isn’t on you.
"For him to get a send-off like that at home, it was really special."