The shiner beneath his left eye a reminder of the physical nature of the NHL playoffs, Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward heaped praise on all of his teammates that played through postseason pain as he talked to reporters during Boston's breakup day Monday at the TD Banknorth Garden.
And as injury after injury was disclosed during Monday's session, it became painfully obvious just how banged up the Bruins were in the playoffs. But Ward took great pride in the fact that Boston never leaned on those injuries as an excuse for their second-round exit.
"We don't talk about what everyone's going through, outside of (Matt) Hunwick, whose spleen exploded, where it's blatantly obviously to everyone," said Ward. "I don't know if you knew about [Mark Recchi's injuries]... I think he handled himself unbelievably."
Recchi played with injured ribs sustained in Game 4 vs. the Hurricanes, and had a kidney stone surgically removed the day before Game 7 of that same series.
"(Recchi) scoring two goals for us (in Games 5 and 6) was a great sight for guys like Phil (Kessel) and [Marc Savard] and those young guys. Sometimes, you're 41 years old, you just come in, win, and move on. [Recchi] invested a lot of himself in this group of guys.
"By actions alone he showed guys in this locker room what it takes to win in the playoffs."
Ward is never short on opinions -- and expressed great appreciation for the chemistry on this year's squad -- but he does have boundaries. Asked about re-signing Boston's younger players during the offseason, Ward politely passed on hypothetical roster building.
"One thing I hesitate to answer or respond to are any player personnel questions," said Ward. "It's a slippery slope. You couldn't pay me to be a GM in this league."
Fore more from Ward, check out the video at the top of this entry.
Previous Exit Interviews
- May 22: Andrew Ference
- May 21: Zdeno Chara
- May 20: Milan Lucic
- May 19: Mark Recchi
- May 18: David Krejci