Bruins Notebook

Warming up to the jacket

eBay find now a part of team

By Barbara Matson
Globe Correspondent / May 6, 2011

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Andrew Ference really intended the jacket for himself. It’s a sad-sack sort of thing, an old Bruins warm-up jacket he found on eBay. He didn’t even have to bid on it; he just submitted a best offer, and 35 bucks later, the shiny, black-and-gold piece of history was his.

Ference thought the vintage look was kind of funny. His mother-in-law owns a second-hand store and once found him an old, ugly-with-a-capital-U Bruins hat, which he got a kick out of wearing around the locker room. He thought the jacket might be the same sort of sartorial send-up. Soon enough, his teammates wanted it, too.

“A couple of guys liked the jacket,’’ said Ference, “and thought it would be a good idea to share the wealth — and to make people look stupid.’’

The jacket showed up on Milan Lucic on the night of March 22, moments after the 22-year-old winger scored his 30th goal of the season in a 4-1 victory over the Devils. His teammates deemed the milestone worthy of a celebration.

“We had to break it in and see if it had any good luck in it,’’ Ference said.

A tradition was born. After every victory, the jacket is passed on to a player who made a significant contribution to the win. Zdeno Chara made it fit after a three-assist night in a 7-0 victory over Montreal March 24.

Mark Recchi got to wear it when his assist in a 3-0 win over the Blackhawks pushed him past Paul Coffey into 12th place on the all-time scoring list.

Nathan Horton sported it in his postgame appearance April 27 after his overtime winner finished off the Canadiens in Game 7 in the first round of the playoffs.

Tim Thomas wore it after his 52-save performance stopped the Flyers in Game 2. Wednesday night, Dennis Seidenberg cut a dashing figure in the zip-up after logging a team-high 28 minutes 16 seconds in a 5-1 victory in Game 3.

“We don’t have anybody too proud in our room,’’ said Ference. “Everybody’s a gamer. You’d catch a lot of heat if you said you weren’t going to wear it, that’s for sure.’’

The jacket tradition is not yet two months old, and chances are it will fade with the summer heat.

“The jacket may just start deteriorating before our eyes if we put that much sweat on it,’’ said Ference.

No matter, it will serve its purpose as the Bruins use the ratty old symbol of team pride to celebrate each other.

Something new Chris Kelly, who joined the Bruins in February after seven seasons with Ottawa, has blended in easily with linemates Rich Peverley and Michael Ryder, so it’s easy to forget playing for the Bruins is a new adventure for him.

“Every year is a different experience, a different challenge, a different opportunity,’’ said Kelly. “I’ve never played Montreal in the postseason, this is my first time. I’ve never played Philadelphia in the postseason. In Ottawa, it always seemed to be Pittsburgh.’’

Nonetheless, Kelly’s three seasons of postseason play with the Senators have informed his game this spring.

“You can look back on experiences that you’ve had in other playoffs and kind of reflect, ‘Well, I’ve been through this somewhat and this is how I handled it,’ ’’ said Kelly. “This group has been very composed. Nothing really rattles this group too much.’’

Even the 0-2 start against Montreal in the first round did not shake things up.

“We never hit the panic button,’’ Kelly said. “We just knew we had to be better and went out there and performed.’’

Medical report The Bruins ran through a half-hour practice yesterday at TD Garden, without Chara or Adam McQuaid. Chara was taking a rest day and McQuaid is recovering from the sprained neck he suffered Monday in Philadelphia.

Steven Kampfer, who suffered a knee injury while playing for Providence on the last weekend of the regular season, skated with the team for the second straight day.

Coach Claude Julien’s update on McQuaid was upbeat: “He’s definitely better. I know we’re still saying ‘day to day,’ but there’s improvement in him.

“We’re getting very optimistic that things are going to happen quicker rather than later, so right now we’re just keeping our fingers crossed. He seems to be doing well, and hopefully we’ll have better news in the next couple of days.’’

As for Kampfer, Julien noted, “We’re moving forward as we’re being told by our medical staff, and he’s looking better every day, so we just have to stay with it, but he’s not ready.’’

Busy day Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is tonight at 8. TD Garden will also host the Northeastern University commencement today, so the teams won’t get a game-day skate at the Garden.

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