VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Boston Bruins veteran forward Mark Recchi said prior to the playoffs that if the Bruins won the Stanley Cup, he would "sail off into the sunset" and retire after 22 seasons in the NHL.
Prior to Game 6, a source close to Recchi said that the future Hall of Famer is planning to retire win or lose, so Game 7 will be Recchi's last NHL game unless he changes his mind in the coming weeks. If Wednesday night is indeed Recchi's swan song, his coach and teammates want to send him out with a third Stanley Cup.
"We've talked about it and I had a glass of wine with him yesterday and it's probably the last glass with him before a game ever," veteran winger Shawn Thornton acknowledged. "So everyone loves 'Rex' and appreciates everything he's done for us. I'm a big supporter of his and I'm hoping we can do it for him."
Coach Claude Julien sarcastically said he'd be happy if it was Recchi's final game because that probably means the Bruins will have won their sixth Stanley Cup.
"I guess that'll be his choice once it's all said and done," Julien said. "And I know he's expressed the fact that if we win the Stanley Cup, he's done. Not because I want him to retire but I'd like to see him win another Stanley Cup. He's been great for us. We can't say enough. We've talked about him all year and maybe his speed isn't where it might have been at some point, but his experience has certainly made up for that. He's contributed in a lot of different ways and scored some big goals and obviously made some big plays at opportune times. He's a guy that shows up every game no matter what the situation is."
Winger Milan Lucic has been grateful to have a veteran leader like Recchi show him the ropes both on and off the ice and wants to return the favor by helping Recchi win another Stanley Cup.
"As a teammate of his, there'll be no better way than to send him off, than winning this with him," Lucic said.
James Murphy covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.