Bruins still not over their Game 7 Stanley Cup loss
Several Bruins shed tears inside their locker room afterward. They then faced the proverbial music and answered postgame questions from the plethora of reporters in front of their stalls.
A short off-season followed. Now they’re looking to right that wrong and overcome a big hurdle entering the 2019-20 season.
Here we are less than three months later at Boston’s first captains’ practice. Three members from last year’s Cup team — David Krejci, Chris Wagner and Sean Kuraly — all trotted out in front of a smaller quantity of cameras and reporters to answer questions at Warrior Ice Arena.
Of course, queries about the Game 7 loss were front and center. Krejci, Wagner and Kuraly essentially echoed the same sentiment when asked about that heartbreaking mid-June defeat.
“I don’t think we’re over it, and I don’t think I’m over it,” forward Sean Kuraly said. “You realize how much you want it after how close you get.”
“Wanting” the Cup is something every team dreams about, but only one team hoists the Cup come June.
The Bruins want to fill the latter part after coming so close. But the battle-tested Bruins overcame before, including 2010 where they blew a three games to none lead against the Flyers in the second round. We all know what happened 13 months later.
Krejci — injured in Game 3 of that Philly series — along with Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask, all saw the Flyers become the second team to overcome the 3-0 series deficit. Brad Marchand joined them the following season in their Cup run. They swept the Flyers the following year en route to defeating the Canucks in Game 7 in Vancouver for their first championship in 39 years
What did they learn after bouncing back the following season? And can they take those lessons learned nearly one decade ago as they look to break a nine-year championship drought in 2019-20?
“It’s just something that you have to learn to live with it,” the 33-year-old Krejci said. “The only way out of it is to have a good season and make a push in the playoffs.”
The Bruins will enter the season as one of the Stanley Cup favorites. Yet, they’ll have to buck a trend to be the last team standing.
Since the original expansion era in 1967, no team who lost a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final returned to the last round of the playoffs the following year. The Red Wings (2009-10), Canucks (1994-95) and Black Hawks (1971-72) are the only squads to advance to Round 2 after losing the decisive game in the previous season.
A short off-season will provide a challenge at least in the early portion of their 82-game slate. The Bruins still have some holes to fill — including finding a second-line winger to skate with Krejci and Jake DeBrusk — and lingering questions — mainly re-signing prized RFA defensemen Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy — as they enter training camp.
Getting over the Game 7 Cup Final Blues won’t be easy. But it’s a challenge the Bruins look forward to beginning in four weeks time.
“I’m sure we’ll talk about it internally…about moving on [from Game 7 last year] and learning that lesson,” said Wagner, who didn’t skate in the seven-game series against St. Louis because of an arm injury. “If you take [the loss] into this year, you’ll think about it too much, and you can’t let [the thought] affect the games coming up — because [last year] is over and we have business to take care of.”