Bruins

Bruins Unveil New Prize For Player Of The Game

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
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Bruins center Chris Kelly shows off the "Player of the Game" chain after scoring the game-winner in Game 1 against the Washington Capitals. (WBZ-TV)

Bruins center Chris Kelly shows off the “Player of the Game” chain after scoring the game-winner in Game 1 against the Washington Capitals. (WBZ-TV)

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BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Bruins’ Stanley Cup run featured timely scoring, otherwordly goaltending, and one ugly jacket.

The jacket was an old Bruins coat purchased on eBay by Andrew Ference, and the team awarded the jacket to the player of the game for each victory, and the player wore it for his postgame media interviews. It was an important and fun piece of camaraderie during a 25-game Stanley Cup run, but all good things must come to an end. The jacket was retired for this season.

However, the legacy of the jacket has paved the way for a new piece of hardware — literally.

Shortly after Chris Kelly fired a slap shot past netminder Braden Holtby just 1:18 into overtime, the quiet and humble winger took the podium at the TD Garden wearing a rather ostentatious piece of jewelry. It didn’t take long for a curious crew of reporters to ask what it was all about.

“It’s something kind of like last year, with the jacket,” Kelly said of the chain link necklace and padlock wrapped around his neck. “Andrew made it from something that symbolizes the team. [In] the chain, try not to be that weak link. It’s one of those things that you pass out after a game. It’s one of those things that’s all in good fun.”

Kelly certainly earned player of the game honors in the Bruins’ playoff opener, as he was the only skater for either team able to find the back of the net.

“I was pleasantly surprised to see it go in,” Kelly said of his game-winner, which he said was probably the biggest he’s ever scored in the playoffs.

While Kelly was his usual modest self after the game, goaltender Tim Thomas did the bragging for him.

“I had a good feeling that it was going to go in, and I had a good feeling about the guy who had the puck,” Thomas said of Kelly. “I could tell that he had something today. Earlier in the third period when he cut across the net, he pretty much came [closest] to scoring out of everybody on the team tonight before he got that opportunity in overtime. And also he’d been winging a few past me in practice the last couple of days. I could tell, just his shot is going right now. He’s humble — he doesn’t think so — but I’ve seen it.”

While Thomas was the one who gets the shutout in the stats book, the reigning Conn Smythe winner said Game 1’s award was given to the right man.

“He wasn’t the weak link tonight,” Thomas said.

Follow Michael on Twitter @michaelFhurley

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