Break-Up Day Revelations: Banged Up B's Don't Offer Excuses
BOSTON, MA - On Wednesday, the Bruins all gathered at TD Garden for their exit interviews, physicals and final media availability of the season, before soon going their separate ways for the offseason.
The infamously labeled "break-up day" is a chance for players, General Manager Peter Chiarelli and Head Coach Claude Julien to reflect on the season to gathered reporters. It often marks the final time that particular group - in this case, the 2012-13 Bruins - is together.
This year, it was tougher to take.
"It’s definitely a lot better than losing in the first round, but it’s still disappointing," Brad Marchand told media, assessing this ending, compared to last year's, both much different than the day in 2011.
"Whether you lose in the first round or the Finals - you didn’t win. So it’s definitely different in ways where we made it here and had the opportunity, but, still didn’t win."
"This was a difficult one because we had such a strong push in the playoffs after what I characterize as a difficult regular season," GM Peter Chiarelli said to reporters, as he gave his opening statement amidst a day of exit interviews and assessment.
"We were the fourth seed and everything [after the regular season], but just the way that we played, it was a challenge."
"So I look back at the year, and I was amazed actually, not surprised, but amazed at our push in the playoffs, and it was such a strong push, and there’s some peaks and valleys, but when we’re rolling it was impressive to watch."
"It really affirmed a lot in what we as a group believed in this team - the core and what it’s capable of doing and what it did."
"The ending wasn’t fun, and I still don’t feel good about it and yesterday I didn’t feel good about it. None of us feel good about it, but my job as a manager is to look at this season and this group from 30,000 feet and to evaluate and to make decisions going forward, and at the end of the day I can tell you that I really liked what I saw."
"I liked the gumption. I liked what Claude and his staff did with groups that were mixed and matched at times. I liked the performances by the Tuukka’s, the Krejci’s, everybody. Lucic, Zee, all the guys, so I’m feeling a little better now than this morning, than yesterday, and when I get back to my perch of 30,000 feet, I’ll feel even better."
No team is 100 percent in the Stanley Cup Final. The wear and tear of the NHL postseason is not for the faint of heart. So, although it's become a tradition after elimination, to finally reveal the well-kept secrets of injuries that creep up, Chiarelli wasn't too keen on rattling them off.
"There’s more injuries. Maybe they’ll come out at a different time," said Chiarelli, after informing the media of Patrice Bergeron's injuries that have caused him to remain at the hospital for observation, though is fine - a broken rib, torn cartilage, separated shoulder and (as revealed Wednesday) a small puncture in his lung.
"Sometimes it looks like you’re making an excuse when you just roll off all the injuries. We had a lot of injuries. We were banged up. A lot of our guys are banged up."
Chicago felt the brunt on the injury-front too. But Coach Julien offered insight into the challenge it poses from a coaching perspective, to be cognizant of players' limited abilities, while still pushing them as if they were 100 percent. Losing a key Merlot Liner like Gregory Campbell (recovering from a broken leg) didn't help.
"Well, it was a challenge. I think the biggest one, as we mentioned there, we had some guys, some key guys, that were injured along the way, and on a lot of occasions we weren’t able to finish with the same number we started," said Julien. "So, you had to shorten your bench, and then, you know, we’d end up in those overtime periods and trying to find the right mix of putting the right guys out there on the ice and trying to give them some rest whenever you could."
"So it was a challenge, but I’m going to tell you right now it was a fun challenge. That’s what coaching is all about. You need to be ready for those kind of things this time of year."
Throughout the day, reporters questioned the Bruins about their injuries, trying to find out any ailments.
What we found out?
Nathan Horton's injury that kept him out of triple overtime of Game One of the Final was a dislocated shoulder that he will need surgery on. He had to wear a brace the rest of the series to keep it in place. As of Wednesday, he's the only Bruin known to require surgery.
When Jaromir Jagr left Game Six for periods of time, and most of the second period, it was due to back and hip issues that made it tough to skate. His time off the ice in the second was due to the shot from the medical staff that eases the pain needing time to kick in.
Back in the second-round series against New York, Dennis Seidenberg's injury that caused him to miss all five games was a hamstring pull that caused to barely be able to walk.
According to Chiarelli, Zdeno Chara was playing with a hip flexor injury that was "pretty potent."
But for Zee, he hadn't wanted to speak of his injury.
"I’m not going to go into it. I was not affected by it," he told media who questioned if he was 100 percent. "Like I said, we were all in some ways banged up but that’s what we all do."
"I’m not going to use my body as an excuse, that’s number one. I take full responsibility for what happened and you know, it's something that I don’t regret. I gave my all, I give effort every game I play and I competed as hard as I could. You know, I gave it all and sometimes you’re still going to come up short. That’s what it is."
And the greatest injury of all?
Brad Marchand summed up the feelings of Bruins' fan everywhere when he was asked if he had any injuries.
"Just my heart," he said.