As Bruins star Milan Lucic spoke after his team's 8-1 dismantling of the Vancouver Canucks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final Monday night, it was hard not to notice he was standing in front of the dressing stall of injured teammate Nathan Horton.
Nor was it hard not to notice that The Jacket — a vitally important symbol in the Bruins' locker room — was hanging prominently in Horton's locker.
As most Bruins fans know, The Jacket — an old, tacky Bruins warm-up that was purchased on eBay by defenseman Andrew Ference — has become a sort of team trophy, awarded after each victory to a player whose contributions in the effort merit the special honor. The last player to receive The Jacket was Horton, whose third-period goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals propelled the Bruins to the Stanley Cup final.
Decorum being what it is, Horton's job was to bestow The Jacket to a new recipient after the Bruins' next victory. But Horton was not on hand to celebrate the victory over the Canucks, having been rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital after suffering a severe concussion from a vicious, illegal hit from Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome.
The Bruins thus made a decision: The Jacket would remain in Horton's dressing stall.
"He wasn't there to give it out, so we decided to just keep it there," Ference said. "It wasn't right to give it out to someone else."
Asked who made the decision to leave The Jacket in Horton's space, Ference replied, "We all talked about it. It was everybody."
Added Ference: "Every player who has worn it, has earned it. It's obviously something that we usually do for fun."
This time, The Jacket played a more serious role in the Bruins' locker room. It will remain in Horton's space, Ference said, until "he's back around the room" to give it to someone else. Horton will be out for the remainder of the playoffs.
Jacket hangs as Nathan Horton honor
Boston Herald | Jun 8