You know when you first get into a car accident and you are so startled you aren’t 100% sure what happened and what the damage is? Adrenaline and confusion are coursing through your veins and you are trying to put the story together. That’s how the city of Boston feels right now. Any loss in playoff hockey is hard to stomach, comprehend and reason with, but losing in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs truly knocks the wind out of you. Not to mention it happened in a blink of an eye, 17 seconds to be exact. Last night a little piece of me died. I know that Chicago winning Game 5 was a game changer for that team, but being the resilient city and team that we are, I thought for sure we would pull it out last night.
Despite the pain I am feeling, and you best believe I plan to wear black for the next week or two, there were many positives that came out of this 2012–13 season. Let’s revisit some of them, shall we?
The Boston Bruins had a start to the regular season that was absolutely inspiring to watch, as they won eight out of their first ten games, blowing teams like the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadians out of the water. During the year, there were some highlight reel worthy hits, goals and saves produced by Bruins. Throughout the season, the third line (Thornton, Paille and Campbell) was commended for its grit, consistency and scoring power and was ultimately coined the Merlot line.
Tuukka Rask began to rise as a star, following in Tim Thomas’ footsteps with incredible save after incredible save. Without him we wouldn’t have even had a fighting chance in the playoffs this year.
I’m sure we all remember Game 7 of the Maple Leafs series. Just as we were about to abandon all hope, and even after some had and found themselves shutting off their televisions and walking out of the TD Garden, the Bruins rallied from behind, winning 5-4 in overtime.
The team was gifted with a hockey legend when the Iginla trade went south (quite literally) to Pittsburgh. Jaromir Jagr dressed in black and gold and was a great addition to our offensive game. AHL defenseman Torey Krug was able to make a mark for the Boston Bruins again this year, most extensively in the post season. With an insane slap shot and amazing stick-handling skills, Krug likely earned a permanent spot for himself on the Bruins’ roster next year.
Injuries are typically not viewed as a positive, but the toughness that Gregory Campbell and Patrice Bergeron displayed this playoff season is unlike anything I’ve witnessed. When Campbell broke his leg during the Eastern Conference Finals, he was truly uplifting. Although he could not help the boys on the ice during the reminder of the Playoffs, his spirit after blocking a shot with his right leg and remaining on the ice until the play was over motivated the Bruins’ to push forward and win the series. In Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Bergeron said he was playing with a broken rib and torn cartilage. To make matters worse, he sustained a separated shoulder while playing in Game 6.
Moments such as this remind us of players we miss: Marc Savard, Mark Recchi, Blake Wheeler, and Mark Stuart, to name just a few. It’s not that they are the explanation for our loss in the Stanley Cup Finals this year, it’s just that they were part of the solution in 2011 and somehow they are linked.
Despite all the positives that came out of the season, it still doesn’t make last night’s loss hurt any less but it begins to dull the initial sting a bit. All and all, you have to be somewhat grateful that we were able to watch our boys play as long as they did, as hard as they did, and as triumphantly as they did. Despite my slight depression, I’m eager for next year and to start the heart-pounding journey all over again.
Bruins, we love you, we are behind you, and let’s do it all again next year!