BOSTON — The real prize every Bruin wants to get his hands on is the silver chalice first presented by Lord Stanley more than a century ago.
That won't be up for grabs for another three rounds, but there is a special relic of a slightly newer vintage that one lucky Bruin could get to hold on Thursday night.
A late-1980s era Bruins warm-up jacket has been making the rounds through the Bruins locker room over the last month, awarded to the player of the game after each Boston victory. The coveted article of clothing came to the club thanks to some savvy eBay shopping by defenseman Andrew Ference.
"It was just 35 bucks or so, but it took me a while to find it," Ference said. "eBay, vintage Bruins, that was my search engine. I was looking for something along those lines, but it's harder to find than I thought."
Ference did find what he was looking for, and after initially planning to add it to his own wardrobe, he decided to turn it into a special prize to be awarded after Bruins wins.
"I don't know, maybe I was in some '70s funk," Ference said of the inspiration to search out such an item. "I think it looks great. I wanted it for myself initially, but then when I brought it in I thought about [passing it on after each game] and a couple of the guys thought it was a good idea."
Milan Lucic earned the right to wear it the first time after scoring his 30th goals against New Jersey on March 22. But Lucic had failed as a trendsetter once before, when no one followed his lead in donning a plaid fedora taken from Brad Marchand after scoring a hat trick in November.
"But that was Marshy's actual hat," Ference said about his rookie teammate's questionable taste in headgear, before noting he did buy the vintage jacket for himself. "What does it say about my style? I shouldn't throw stones."
Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara passed on the chance to don the fedora after their hat tricks later this season, but no one could resist the jacket. Chara was selected to receive it after the 7-0 win over the Canadiens on March 24, and even pulled it on to prove this article of clothing truly is a one-size-fits-all item.
"We proved it could fit [Chara], so everybody else should be fine," Ference said. "We're all set."
The jacket will take on even more significance now that the playoffs have arrived, and the Bruins would like nothing better than to pass it on, oh maybe 16 more times this spring.
The Bruins, including Rich Peverley, who received the jacket after last Saturday's win over Ottawa, better take care of it though. Ference isn't planning to shell out more money for a replacement.
"I was on there [on eBay] the other day and there's more now, so I don't know if people are trying to get rid of them," Ference said. "And the prices are way higher. People are capitalists, that's for sure."