Hurt Nathan Horton travels to Vancouver

Updated: June 14, 2011, 11:53 PM ET
By Mike Reiss | ESPNBoston.com

The Bruins arrived in Vancouver on Tuesday and there was an extra player in the traveling party -- Nathan Horton.

Coach Claude Julien said that Horton's presence was special for the team.

The Presidents' Trophy-winning Canucks and the profoundly resilient Bruins will play their 107th and final game when their draining seasons finally end in Game 7 on Wednesday night.

"He certainly wanted to be here. We wanted him on this trip," Julien said shortly after the team's arrival. "When you get this far, you're a pretty close-knit group. Our guys wanted everybody here and they've got it."

Horton's equipment is even hanging in the Bruins' dressing room in Vancouver.

"That's something the guys wanted to do. They wanted him to be part of our group here. Until, again, the third game of the final, he was a big contributor to our hockey club," Julien said. "If the doctors would let him, he would play tomorrow and we all know that that's the way he feels right now. He would be willing to play through what he's gone through. But we know that's not the right decision to make. But that's the way he's feeling right now. He wants to play so badly, he would be willing to play through that.

"So when a guy has that approach and has that will to want to do that for his team and teammates, the least you can do is honor him in your own way. Our players chose to honor him by making sure the trainers brought his equipment. Before the game, his sweater is hanging in his stall. He's part of our team and we want him there to the end."

Horton suffered a severe concussion in the first period of Boston's Game 3 win last week at the Garden. Vancouver's Aaron Rome, who delivered the late hit, was suspended by the league for the final four games of the series.

"I was very happy to see him, and I'm very happy to have him around," goalie Tim Thomas said. "I just spent some time talking to him in the locker room. He's a positive guy. His joy for the game and life is kind of like a little kid, and that's a great thing, and I personally feed off of that.

"So I was happy to see him today. Actually last night on the screen (the TD Garden videoboard), I was so focused I didn't realize he was up there until near the very end. I looked up, I hadn't been tapping my stick or anything because I didn't know what was going on. I've heard from my wife that it was pretty emotional when he was up there."

Julien then noted that Marc Savard is the lone Bruin not present "and his health varies from day to day, week to week; he's still in our thoughts and he's part of our hockey club as well."

Mike Reiss is a reporter and columnist for ESPNBoston.com. Information from ESPN.com's Scott Burnside and The Associated Press was used in this report.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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