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POSTED ON Tuesday, 08.23.2011 / 3:15 PM

BostonBruins.com -- Every member of the Boston Bruins has their day with the Stanley Cup and Bruins goalie coach Bob Essensa was no exception. The man affectionately called "Goalie Bob" hosted hockey's beloved Holy Grail on August 23rd.

Essensa
This season, Essensa, who has been the Bruins goalie coach since 2003 saw one of his prized pupils help the Bruins clinch the Stanley Cup Championship and take home his second Vezina Trophy and it seems fitting that the man who helped train Thomas, also the 2011 Conn Smythe winner as playoff MVP, should get his day with the Cup just before his prized pupil got to meet Stanley on August 24.

Essensa lives in Oxford, Michigan with his wife and three sons, but was born and raised in Toronto, so he had to choose where he would celebrate his Cup day.

"Most of my friends that I grew up with [in Toronto] have dispersed, but most of my closest college friends [from Michigan State University] are still around here," said Essensa. "All my wife's family is down here and me and my three boys all play hockey in the Detroit area, so it made more sense to have it here in Michigan."

Although his parents and brother were unable to make the trip, he had plenty of close friends and family to celebrate with on a gordgeous summer day.

"It was probably high 70's, maybe 80," said Essensa. "It was perfect all day."

The sunny weather was welcomed since Essensa's first order of business with Stanley was to take it golfing at the Oakhurst Country Club.

"I always knew I wanted to take it golfing," said Essensa. "I saw Craig Ramsay's day with it.

"He took it golfing and I knew I wanted to do that."

Essensa then took it to the rink where his sons Josh, Ben and Jake all play hockey. There, the Essensa kids' teammates and classmates, along with a hockey team of adult special needs players, were all able to take pictures with the Cup.

The next stop on the Stanley agenda was the Essensa house for a party with friends, family and neighbors, which continued at a banquet hall near Lake Orion.

At the banquet hall, Essensa got to experience one of his favorite cup moments: his wife Jeanine enjoying the honor of being the first of his group to sip from the Cup.

"She sacrifices so much when I'm away," explained Essensa. "I wanted her to be the first to drink out of it."

His other two favorite parts of the day were, of course, the golfing and the joy that seeing Stanley brought to his sons and the special needs hockey team at the rink.

In fact, Jake, his 9-year-old son, was so excited at the idea of seeing the cup that Essensa put it by his bed in the morning, it was the first thing Jake saw when he woke up.

Though Essensa never got to have the cup as a player, he feels it's still very gratifying to have it as a coach.

"It would have been nice to have it as a player... but the celebration is pretty similar," Essensa added. "The people celebrating with me might have been a bit younger, but the celebration is probably the same."

Any day with the Cup should be a memorable day and Essensa was pleased with the time he spent with Stanley before sending it on its way to Thomas.

"[My day] went off without a hitch," said Essensa. "It was perfect."

---Amanda Ostuni

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POSTED ON Monday, 08.22.2011 / 9:24 AM

BostonBruins.com -- Showing some impeccable timing, at the beginning of last season, Jim "Beets" Johnson made became the assistant equipment manager for the Boston Bruins.

"It was almost surreal," said Johnson of his feelings after the B's Game 7 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. "You dream of something your whole life and as it got closer and closer and the moments were happening.

"It was really special."

Though he suspected he might get a day with the Cup, Johnson was still in disbelief when the Bruins asked him where he wanted Stanley to show up on August 21.

"It kind of hit home when he asked you where you wanted to have your day with the cup," said Johnson.

His answer: The Ketchum and Sun Valley region of Idaho.

Though he grew up in Minnesota, played four seasons of college hockey (and was an assistant coach for one season) at St. Scholastica in Duluth and resides right outside of Boise, Johnson, who spent nine seasons as the assistant equipment manager of the New York Rangers after two seasons as the head equipment manager of the Idaho Steelheads, considers the Sun Valley area his 'adopted' home.

"I spent many years there after college," Johnson said of his location choice. "So I brought it back to this valley that I was a part of for so many years."

Johnson had plenty of loved ones to join him in his special time with Stanley and they helped him put together more than a full day's worth of celebrating.

First up on Johnson's Idaho travel schedule: pictures with the Cup upon arrival, followed by a tour through local businesses to say thank you for their support.

Next he took the Cup to the Sun Valley Lodge where, as a local, Johnson had frequently played hockey at the facility's indoor and outdoor rinks.

There in the lodge, he held a viewing for friends, family and residents of the area.

Stanley was later the center piece in a photo-shoot at a private cup party that swelled to include over 100 people thanks to the small-town-everyone-knows-everyone nature of Ketchum/Sun Valley.

In the morning, Johnson and friends and family woke up bright and early to drive up to the top of Bald Mountain with the Stanley Cup. They reached the summit at 7 a.m. and were able to take pictures with hockey's Holy Grail at sunrise.

Finally, Johnson took the cup down for a small brunch at the home of his 16-year-old son Parker and Parker's mom.

Johnson said he enjoyed the excitement, smiles, congratulations and thanks he received from the community for bringing the Cup to Ketchum. He explained that Sun Valley is a community so engrossed in hockey lore that local kids aspiring for the NHL were afraid to touch the Cup -- they feared the legend that if you touch it before you earn it, you'll never win it.

However, there's no rule against looking and thanks to Johnson's packed schedule, plenty of people got a chance to share Stanley.

Asked about his favorite memory, Johnson was quick to answer.

"Having my picture taken with my son on top of the mountain was special," explained Johnson, who said at that moment he felt like he was "on top of the world."

---Amanda Ostuni
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POSTED ON Saturday, 08.20.2011 / 11:34 PM
By John Bishop - BostonBruins.com / Stanley's Travels

BostonBruins.com -- Believe it or not, B's legend Johnny Bucyk had never had a day with Stanley prior to August 20th, when he recieved the Cup at his summer home in British Columbia.

Johnny "Chief" Bucyk
You see, players didn't get the Stanley Cup to themselves when they won back in 1970 and 72, but that didn't make winning any less special.

"Winning the Cup in the two years that we did win it, that made it complete," said Bucyk of his career. "And them having my number retired of course finalized it and being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

"But getting the Stanley Cup now and still being part of the team, it was just great.

"It was thirty nine years since we won and I was just happy to be a part of it."

It had been almost four decades since Bucyk skated off the ice with the Cup in Boston's possession and when B's captain Zdeno Chara grabbed "The Jug" in June it capped off what "Chief" simply described as "a good year."

But for Bucyk, who began his career in Boston in 1957, being part of a third Stanley Cup for the B's was very special and the former Bruins captain relished being able to contribute in his capacity of road services director -- a role that puts him on the road with the team coordinating travel, hotel rooms and tickets amongst many other duties.

"The parts that I enjoyed was working with the management," said Bucyk. "You know, working with the coaches, the GMs and Cam [Neely].

"They let me do my thing for what I had to do.

"And everybody in the office, all the kids, they were so polite and go good to me. You know everybody always has a 'Good morning,' had a 'How you doing?' and 'Good to see you!' and stuff like that," he said.

Asked about his longevity with the B's and Bucyk again credited the Black & Gold.

"I think just the organization itself. That’s what keep me going," said Chief. "The people there are so great and that’s what makes the team so great -- everybody’s working together."

Bucyk seemed to be able to fit plenty into his time with the Cup in Creston, BC. He met the Hockey Hall of Fame's Cup keeper Howie Barrow in Cranbrook and brought the Cup two hours to Creston's convention center.

"We did three hours of signing," he said. "“They just could believe that [the Cup] was there.

"People came form other towns to see it, we had people comes from Vancouver to see it.

"It was so much excitement. My own family, my grandson Christopher, he had a heck of a time,” he said.

But that wasn't the only stop.

"Then we went to a nursing home," continued Bucyk. "We took it to a lot of patients.

"A lot of them knew what it was all about and a lot of them didn’t, but they were all shocked to see this Stanley Cup, weighs 34 and a half pounds to see it in there in the building.

  
"And of course it was good to see of the staff, the people that spend their devoted time working with these people, give them a chance to see -- because they couldn’t obviously get down to the rink because they had to be at work -- so we kind of surprised everybody there."

And then it was time for some private time.

"We came to my place and I had much of my relatives and friends locally and they came over with some of the neighbors and we sat around and they all had pictures with the Cup," said Bucyk, who was joined by son-in-law Joe Laroche. "It turned you to be just one special day."

A special day made more special by the keeper of the Cup.

"He was so good with the people, with the public, especially the kids; answering questions, talking to them, having a great time," said Bucyk. "He does a great job.”

Asked what stuck out most for him on his Cup day, and Chief was quick to talk about the politenss and friendliness of the fans he encountered along the way.

"They were so appreciative to see the Cup and you know we gave them autographs, we gave them all kinds of little souvenir stuff and they were just appreciative and it just made it a fun day," said Bucyk. "A long day, but a fun day."

It was a day that will get added to the many special moments in a 54-year career in Black & Gold.

“Any time you win the Cup its great and you’re a part of it and it's beautiful,” he said.

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POSTED ON Friday, 08.19.2011 / 7:32 AM
By John Bishop - BostonBruins.com / Stanley's Travels

BostonBruins.com --
Generally, Johnny Boychuk is the happiest person that you could encounter on any given day.

Stanley and Boychuk take a drive. Click here for a full gallery.
Add the Stanley Cup and, well, let's just say that even the distance from Edmonton to Boston (and a so-so phone connection) couldn't hide "the happy" in the defenseman's voice as he talked about his time with the Cup.

Every moment of the day resonated with the Edmonton native, who brought "The Jug" back to Alberta on August 19.

"Well, we picked it up when the plane landed at 11 o’clock," said Boychuk of the Cup's arrival. "And we went to eat at a place called Chop with just immediate family."

But the day didn't stay private for very long.

"From there, because they had everything set up, we went to Stollery Children's Hospital and we spent about two hours there or so," said Boychuk.

Like so many of his teammates, Boychuk's time in the hospital showed him the power that the Stanley Cup has to spread the smiles to everyone it encounters.

"I think bringing it to the Hospital was probably the best moment," said Boychuk. "Just seeing the kids smile.

"They’re not doing very well themselves in that hospital.

"You know to see them smiling, you know getting there spirits up just makes it all worth bringing it there,” he said.

Family, friends and hockey fans shared in those lifted spirits as Boychuk toured greater Edmonton.

"On the way to the Stollery we stopped and took one picture," said Johnny to set the scene. "There’s like a big Stanley Cup in Edmonton outside of a sports store and along the way, I’m like ‘Oh lets stop right here.’

"It took two seconds then there were people seeing it and they were like ‘What is that?’

"Then we went right to the Stanley Cup and took a picture of it, with the actual Stanley Cup," said Boychuk.

The day gave Johnny a chance to take the Cup down memory lane -- or make that Wayne Gretzky Drive.

"From the Hospital, on the way to my parents house, we stopped at the Rexall Place where the Oilers play," continued Boychuk. "There’s a statue of Wayne Gretzky in front of the Stadium or the Arena, kind of like how we have Bobby Orr.

"And I took a picture in front of Wayne Gretzky holding the Cup."

Everyone in Edmonton seemed to get some time with Stanley.

"We went to my mom and dad’s house, took some pictures with immediate family, the same people that were at Chop," he said. "From there we went to a place called Fort Edmonton Park.

"And we got there and I got brought in by a group of bagpipers and from there, there were about 700 people that were there -- fans, family, friends just to take pictures with the Cup.

"That was for about three hours, which took us to about 9:30 p.m.”

Bringing the Cup back to Edmonton was important to Boychuk, who grew up with the city's powerful Oilers teams of the late 1980's.

"It made everybody’s day, or week, or month, or year," he said. "For them to be able to take a picture with it and you know get to touch the Stanley Cup just means a lot to everybody, especially coming from a place that is a hockey city too."

Asked what stood out most about the Edmonton teams of his childhood, Boychuk said, "Just that they were able to win it almost every year.

"They had such a good team and you know, its hard to win one Stanley Cup let alone five in a matter of ten years, right?”

But having the Cup himself had Boychuk wanting to make similar plans next summer.

"After having a day with the Cup, the next day I was like ‘Wow I cant wait to win another one now and have another day with it.'”

Check out the video from CTV Edmonton.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 08.18.2011 / 9:51 AM

BostonBruins.com --
Tom McVie is a man who truly made a career out of his passion. He started as a player in the West Coast Hockey League (WHL) before beginning his 23-year long coaching career.

McVie and Stanley get interviewed (photo by Ken Gregg). For a full gallery click here.
Now a scout for the Boston Bruins focusing on West Coast professional leagues, this past season was Mcvie’s 17th with the B's organization.

The plan for his day with the Stanley Cup was simple -- to share it. And share it he did.

“I used to live in Portland and now I live in Vancouver so I didn’t want to 'diss' either city, because I wanted to share it with both cities," said McVie,  who started the day at many local TV stations making appearances with the Cup.

First he got the Portland community involved at a celebration in Pioneer Square.

The WHL’s Portland Winterhawks were on hand to provide some hockey-themed fun.

“They had the Zamboni down there, nets for the kids to shoot pucks," said McVie. "They had me up on the stage with the Stanley Cup.

"There were probably 2,500 to 3,000 people there!”

Then, in the afternoon, McVie brought the cup to the Mountain View Ice Arena in his home of Vancouver, Washington.

There were people lined up around the rink to get a chance to see and touch Lord Stanley.

”I don’t think hardly anyone didn’t say to me, thank you for sharing this great moment with us," said McVie. "It just brought tears to my eyes.”

Finally, McVie ended the day with a party for friends and family at his home.

“It was just a tremendous evening,” said the scout about the big meal prepared at his home.

“We made four great big pots of spaghetti sauce and we were able to feed all hundred people.”

Asked about the B's Cup run, McVie recalled hoisting the Stanley Cup over his head on the ice after the Bruins won Game 7 as “the biggest thrill I’ve ever had.

“I’ve had 55 years in pro hockey and it’s never happened before it’s so great," said McVie. "I don’t want it to happen right away, but I can die in peace now.” 

---Erika Wentzell 

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POSTED ON Thursday, 08.18.2011 / 7:52 AM
By John Bishop - BostonBruins.com / Stanley's Travels

BostonBruins.com -- Defenseman Shane Hnidy said that if he had been told in January that he would rejoin the Boston Bruins and be a Stanley Cup champion in June he would have said, "I Better get to work! Because I wasn't in shape yet."

Hnidy
But Hnidy pointed out that in hockey, you never can tell.

"You cant predict the future," he said. "But when the Bruins showed interest and it started coming closer to being a reality, I made sure I was going to get ready.

"I knew they had the parts in place that was going to make a long run and they did have as good a chance as any to win it and things just could not have worked out better."

As such, Hnidy ended his Boston career by raising the Cup in Vancouver and enjoying a day with Lord Stanley in his hometown of Neepawa, Manitoba on August 18.

"You know the day ended up being great," said Hnidy. "It was rushed, but we got everything we could into the day.

"It arrived in Winnipeg I was able to get some family photos and stuff before we got to my hometown where the circus began. We did some photos with the family and with the Cup with all my family members. Then we took it to my hometown Neepawa to my parent's place where a lot of close friends and family members were able to come and get some pictures with the Stanley Cup.

"From there, I went did photos with the public. We had a social event where people came out and we had a little fun with it and we had a bit of a party."

I sounds like most of Neepawa (pop. 3298 in a recent census) was there for the party.

"At the social I think we had around six hundred people and I think we went through about a thousand people before that for photos," said Hnidy, who sounded relieved that everything went off without a hitch.

"You kind of get a lot of anxiety leading up with whether or not it's going to work out but I had a lot of great people helping organize and it just turned out fantastic."

As did Hnidy's hockey career should it have come to an end after Game 7.
 
"To go back and win the Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins is just a dream come true," said Hnidy. "For my career that really is the moment, and to do it with Boston -- a team I played six games (in 2010-11) -- Boston was the team that was closest to my heart and it just felt like it fit my style.

"To be part of an 'Original Six' in such an amazing group of guys really capped everything off on whats been a great career and whether it continues or not I don't know yet but it sure makes things feel right."

Hnidy said that a few special moments with the Cup stand out.

"The moments we had in the dressing room right after we won the Cup with the champagne and everything," he said. "You know all the guys were in such a true state of joy.

"Those memories will last.

"Obviously, my kids weren't there to share it so when I was able to bring it to the house so my kids were able to see the Stanley Cup. There was a lot of great moments in the day but for them to share that experience first it was great," he said.

And "Hnides" expanded that moment to include Neepawa.

"Bringing the Cup to my hometown where so many people have supported and followed my career for fifteen years of pro hockey, ups and downs, even juniors when I left Neepawa -- those People have been behind me and following me and to bring it where it's never been was just amazing," he said.

Hnidy also said he was happy to have had the entire day on film, because the experience was so unbelievable.

"Thank goodness, I got photos because it does seem surreal but you know the photographer took them and we went and looked at the pictures yesterday and its just amazing to look at the pictures of that and some friends have pictures from the day," he said with a laugh. "It's just 'Wow' you know?

"It's something that's just going to live with you forever and the moment we all aspire to capture and I was lucky enough to do it."

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 08.17.2011 / 11:19 PM

BostonBruins.com --
Twenty miles outside of Portland, Oregon lies the small city of Sherwood. By all accounts, Sherwood is a family-friendly, quaint suburban community that enjoys summer little league games and "Movies in the Park" on Friday evenings.

Benning & Stanley (photo by Ken Gregg). For a full gallery click here.
August 16th was not a typical Tuesday in Sherwood. Two very special deliveries came for Jim Benning, Sherwood resident and Assistant General Manager of the Boston Bruins.

The Stanley Cup arrived at Benning's home just as morning turned to afternoon. It was perfect timing for those gathered to enjoy the presence of the Stanley Cup to also enjoy a cup of Boston's famous Legal Seafood's clam chowder.

"We thought it was a good idea to bring out some Boston flavor, so we had it shipped out here," Benning recalls, laughing. "We had a lot of fun with the day."

After a family gathering at his home, Benning made his way to Sherwood Ice Arena to share the ultimate prize in ice hockey with Sherwood residents, hockey fans, and friends.

"The Cup, wherever you take it, seems to bring a lot of happiness to the people," Benning remarked, recalling that his most memorable moments of the day were conversations with thrilled Bruins fans and former New Englanders.

"There were a lot of people who came up and talked to me saying, 'You know, I grew up in Massachusetts or New Hampshire or Maine.' These hockey fans said to me that they've always been Boston Bruins fans. These people told me that the opportunity to have the Cup out here and get a picture with it after the Bruins won is a dream come true."

As a former player, Benning can understand that dream.

Now in management, the busy schedule of an assistant GM and the short off season has not afforded him much time to bask in the Cup's captivating glow.  "We've been so busy since the season ended we haven't really had a chance to sit down and reflect."

"When the Cup came up the driveway was the first true moment for me when it felt like we've really accomplished this great thing. That's when it really sunk in, just being able to enjoy it with my family and friends." And of course, the chowder.

---Rosemary Moran

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 8:37 PM

BostonBruins.com --
The Stanley Cup is guaranteed to bring along one thing on each visit this summer -- joy.

Scott Bradley
Director of Player Personnel Scott Bradley recalls the happiness that Lord Stanley brought to himself, his family, and his community.

He began his day by transporting the Cup by helicopter from Vancouver to Port Louis, BC in order to share part of his day with full time Bruins scout Dean Malkoc’s home.

The Stanley Cup sat in the front seat during the helicopter ride.

“Every time we landed or took off there was lots of people that could see it and it was pretty special to see the reactions to Mr. Stanley sitting in the helicopter,” recalled Bradley.

Bradley said that the most memorable part of his day was sharing the Cup with local children at the Regional Cancer Hospital.

“You know to see smiles on young kids faces, all ages, it was just very very special. It made your heart feel good,” he said

Bradley grew up with the hockey spirit running through his family and was glad to spend the rest of his special day with them.

He recognized the excitement the Cup brought to his relatives, “they’re still wide eyed and smiles from ear-to-ear.”

After 18 years with the Bruins organization, Bradley can now savor the moment of being on the Vancouver ice on June 15 knowing that he is now part of a Stanley Cup championship team.

“It’s a lifetime dream," he said. "We’ve finally climbed the mountain.”

---Erika Wentzell

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POSTED ON Sunday, 08.14.2011 / 11:28 PM

NHL.com is with the Cup in Vancouver....

The best way to do it
08.14.2011 / 6:55 PM ET


VANCOUVER -- When Milan Lucic was thinking about what he could do with the Cup, he wanted to keep it private yet also enjoy all that his hometown has to offer.

Hello boat cruise.

"Vancouver is a beautiful and spectacular area," Lucic told NHL.com. "You saw the route we just went on and you get a lot of downtown and the mountains in the back. Thank god the clouds went away because it's a pretty great day."

Lucic wanted to share his day with those closest to him, so he figured by going on a boat everyone he wanted to be around would be there and nobody could crash his party.

It was a success.

"Everyone here has supported me from when I was a kid and, you know what, I feel like one of the luckiest players in the NHL because I have the support group that I do," Lucic said. "It's a great group here today and the thing I wanted to do was share the day with them. I'm happy I've been able to do that.

"I just wish it would never end."

- Dan Rosen

Stanley sets sail
08.14.2011 / 5:04 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- The harbor around Vancouver is known for being one of the most beautiful destinations in North America, so Milan Lucic is using it as a backdrop to his celebration.

Lucic has chartered a Harbour Cruise boat, The Princess, for an afternoon cruise around the spectacular waterway.

Roughly 150 of Lucic's closest friends and family members have joined him and the Cup for the lunch cruise.

Lucic started in the lower area of the boat taking pictures in the bow area. As soon as the boat started to cruise past Stanley Park and under the Lion's Gate Bridge, Lucic and his girlfriend, Brittany, brought the Cup up to aft on the deck and posed for more pictures while lunch was being served below.

Lucic popped a bottle of the bubbly and is letting everyone take a sip out of the Cup. His girlfriend's brother, who is 13, has kissed the trophy twice.

No, he isn't taking any sips.

As the boat cruised past Granville Island, Lucic went to the very top and hoisted the Cup for everyone at the Granville Public Market to see.

He received some cheers. There were no audible boos.

"I am not trying to rub it in," Lucic said. "I know what it's like."

The views are breathtaking and the weather has cleared up with the clouds separating above the water.

As soon as Lucic brought the Cup up to the aft, he gained a following along the boat. Other smaller speed boats started to pull up and honk with the passengers waving. Lucic waved back and showed them th Cup.

He's doing this three hour cruise before heading up to a mountain-top restaurant for a private party.

- Dan Rosen

Honoring his community
08.14.2011 / 3:26 PM ET

NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. -- Milan Lucic may have played for the enemy, but in this community he was the hero.

Lucic's first stop on his Cup day was at the Serbian Orthodox Church, where his parents are longtime members and the families here have known Milan for years.

"Since he was a little boy," Dusko Bilbija, who was helping with security, told NHL.com. "Milan is a good boy."

Lucic was welcomed inside the church by roughly 500 people and he took pictures with all of them.

With a team of security guards by his side, Lucic then took the Cup around the church for more pictures before being scurried out.

He was like a rock star.

"I'm so grateful we have someone like that to bring it back to us," ex-NHLer and East Vancouver native Sasha Lakovic told NHL.com. "Obviously the Canucks didn't do it, but when you have somebody that has grown up in the neighborhood and do such a great job like he did, wow."

Lakovic is close with Lucic's family and has known his parents for years.

"That's why he's such a great kid, his parents raised him right," Lakovic said. "Work hard and things will happen. That's what he did, and he's done it now. He brought it (the Cup) back home. Hopefully he can two-peat now."

- Dan Rosen

Like a kid on Christmas morning
08.14.2011 / 2:13 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- Milan Lucic and his girlfriend Brittany were waiting in the baggage claim area. Sweat was pouring off of Lucic, so much so that his shirt was wet.

"You can see how excited I am," he said as he waited for the Cup to come off the plane and get to him. "I am sweating through my shirt."

As the wait grew longer, Lucic commented, "What's taking them so long?"

Finally, the doors to the oversized baggage claim opened and the Cup was handed over.

Lucic couldn't wait any longer. Cup keeper Walt Neubrand opened the case and Lucic dipped his big paws in and lifted up the 35-pound trophy.

He held it aloft and posed for our cameras, and then quickly marched it through the airport to his car for the first stop of his day.

People scurried for their cameras and video recorders. A few asked Lucic if it was real. One woman asked me who that was.

When I told her, she smiled. She knew who Milan Lucic was.

Lucic's smile never came off his face. He was as excited as the moment he first lifted it after Game 7.

- Dan Rosen


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POSTED ON Sunday, 08.14.2011 / 11:23 PM
By John Bishop - BostonBruins.com / Stanley's Travels

BostonBruins.com --
Any return to Vancouver is special for Milan Lucic, but a return to British Columbia in the company of the Stanley Cup certainly raises the intensity of the experience.

"It's cool," said Lucic, enthusiastically. "I mean I'm the only guy who's bringing it back to where we won -- in my hometown.

"So that kind of makes this experience extra special.

"I have a connection with Vancouver and I obviously love the city and have a lot of respect for the city and the fans," he said.

Lucic's first stop was not a surprise to those who have followed his career.

"First I took it to the Serbian Cultural Center here, where the church is and I saw folks there," said Lucic.  "I took it there because it's obviously a pretty good support group I get from...the Serbian people here.

"We have a pretty strong group [in Vancouver] and this year has been a pretty good yeat for us."

Milan and his fellow athletically inclined Serbian brethren have brought home the hardware.

"I won the Stanley Cup, Peja Stojakovic won the NBA championship and Novak Djokovic is doing what he's doing in tennis," said Lucic. "So it's been a good year for us, so I thought that'd be a pretty good idea."

Then Lucic and the Stanley Cup would take in the sights via boad.

"We're taking it on a boat cruise through Vancouver around Stanley Park there," said Milan. "I did that just because I thought that would be cool and everyone would enjoy something like that.

"Me and my family...really don't do stuff like that around here."


Finally, a private dinner party with family and friends on a local mountain with a Vancouver view will close out the festivities for Lucic.

"I have a great support group in my friends and family, and that's basically what today's about -- sharing it all with them," he said.  "That's why I'm having more of these little private events.

"My family deserves to be around it more than anyone and I want them to enjoy it as much as I do."

If they do, it'll be another cherished Stanley Cup experience for Lucic.

"Oh yeah. Oh yeah," said said the forward when asked if the B's championship had lived up to his expectations.

"Obviously, I was fortunate enough to win the junior ranks and so I've gotten the feeling of winning, but this one by far was been a dream come true," said Lucic. "Nothing compares to this day and this whole experience.

"It's just unbelievable and that's why, going back and going into next year it makes you want to go through it again because it is such a special feeling."

As such, Lucic said he is just fine with the Bruins short summer.

"I'm okay with it for this reason," he said, emphatically.

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