BostonBruins.com - The Bruins gathered at TD Garden on Friday for their year-end meetings and media availability, before packing up their equipment and parting ways for the offseason.
Part 1 of the rundown from the day includes quotes from Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask, Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton. It also includes thoughts from Chris Kelly, Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid, all sidelined by injuries this season.
It was a disappointing postseason offensively for Krejci, who never found the back of the net through 12 games and put a lot of blame on his own shoulders, saying after Game 7 that he didn't feel he did his job in the playoffs.
"It's been really tough," Krejci said on Friday. "I haven't done much the last couple of days, didn't even feel like shaving yet."
"It's going to be tough, but time heals, and I'm going to get away from hockey for a weeks right now. Obviously it's tough, it hurts, it is what it is and nothing you can do about it now."
Eventually, the hurt will subside, and Krejci will have to look to 2014-15.
"I've been thinking that the good thing is that we're going to have a long summer, and I've never had a summer like this before," he said.
"I'm going to train like I never trained before. I'm going to come back a better player."
"He’s been such a great player for us for so long, and he’s been such a great playoff performer for so long," said his left winger Milan Lucic. "Everyone goes through slumps, and I definitely don’t feel like he let us down. It’s a team game. We win together and we lose together."
"Obviously it feels like he’s pretty hard on himself. He’s allowed to be if he wants to be, but at the end of the day, he’s been my centerman for four or five years now. We’ve always each other’s backs, and we’ve had success over the last few years. Sometimes it just doesn’t go for you, but like I said, you have to have the type of attitude where you don’t accept losing. You don’t accept failure, and you hope that it motivates you moving forward."
Lucic, one to always wear his emotions, had an emotional series against Montreal, both on and off the ice. He was very vocal following Game 7.
"I think that’s almost the worst part, that you let the fans down and you let the city of Boston down," Lucic said Friday.
After a few days to digest the loss, he was able to put it somewhat in perspective.
"But sometimes, when you have hard defeats like this, it gives you motivation to work harder in the summer, to come back hungrier for next year. Obviously, I’ll take a few days to get over a loss like this, but eventually you know that you have to move on and focus on next year. But as of right now, it definitely still stings."
When asked about the emotional way he plays the game, Lucic made it clear that he wasn't about to become someone he's not.
"I still need to be the person that I am, and I care about the people I’m accountable to," he said. "That’s my teammates, the coaches, my family, the fans, all those people."
Lucic was wearing a brace on his left wrist during the year-end media availability.
"I got it caught and jammed it in the first period of last game," said Lucic. "Unfortunately, now I have to get an MRI on it, so hopefully there’s nothing too bad in there other than just a sprain."
Boston's infamous "Merlot Line" has been a fourth line force for the past few years, but this postseason, the trio never truly found their groove that makes the Bruins' four-line attack so dangerous.
Whether it was the time apart during the regular season, with Daniel Paille's concussions and Shawn Thornton's suspension, their time apart in the first round or the line adjustments Julien had to make moving Paille up to the third line with Chris Kelly's injury, they just didn't have that same spark that they had in 2011 and 2013 when the Bruins reached the Final.
"I think the reflecting has to be personal in a sense, and I look at my game and things I could have done better, and I know that when we've won, it's been a team thing," said Campbell. "So I think my game and my line, we could have done some more, and I know that when you win in the playoffs, it takes everybody, so that's kind of where I'm at right now."
"It's still really disappointing, really really tough to swallow. I'm sure it will take a few more days than just a couple. It's something that we have to accept, deal with, try to change it in the year to come."
Like Campbell, Paille reflected on the Merlot Line's effectiveness, and why they didn't hit their stride.
"There's a lot of different reasons I think. I think that our intensity was there, but it's hard to put your finger on it, but something just wasn't quite there," said the forward.
"I think maybe me missing three weeks [with the concussion] could have been something about it, and we did the best we could, but this year, it didn't work out."
When asked if injuries to the Bruins maybe caught up with them, in the cases of veterans like Kelly and Seidenberg, Paille didn't really want to make that a point.
"I mean, we were so strong with our play with injuries all year. It didn't catch up into the playoffs. It isn't necessarily an excuse for it - we were capable to do better with the team we had, even with the injuries," said Paille. "It's just unfortunate that we couldn't pull it off."
"Everyone is going to reflect on the series, and definitely take into account that we needed a lot more."
For Paille, he had his own frustrations this season, with three concussions and two that caused him to miss ample time out of the lineup, including the first series against Detroit.
"We'll enjoy these three weeks to rest the body and once the training starts, that's kind of when you get ready and focused," he said, noting that hockey will probably still be going when he starts training.
I asked him if he would allow himself to watch.
"I'm not really resentful like that - I enjoy watching hockey, so when I have the opportunity to watch a game, I will."
Like every other Bruin in the room, Marchand was still wearing his disappointment on Friday.
"We would have liked a lot of things to go differently," said the winger. "It's just still very shocking and very disappointing. I think every day that we wake up it's a little more reality and it gets tougher every day."
Marchand wasn't able to find the back of the net in the postseason, and that was still eating at him, too.
'Do you have any regrets?' a reporter asked.
"I would have liked to perform better all year long, and playoffs especially," said Marchand. "But I can't dwell on it, can't change that now, I've got to take what I can learn from it and try and improve."
After a slow start to the season, Marchand really found his way in January, when he went on a six-game point streak, scoring seven goals in that span. He went on to play the first 82-game season of his career.
But, like the rest of the team, he wasn't able to recapture that in the final round against Montreal.
"I think you can't any season lightly. Every year you've got come and you've got to work to prove yourself again and again," he said. "And it was a lot of ups and downs this year, a very tough start and got a little bit better in the middle, so I think I can learn a lot from this year and just how to prepare myself going into training camp every year, so I'll definitely have a much better summer of training."
Marchand had planned to take two to three weeks to get away, and then shift into his offseason training routine.
"I've never liked to take too long after the season to get back into it," he said.
When Dennis Seidenberg was lost to injury for the season, and Adam McQuaid unable to make a return from his injury, the back end was anchored by their only two veterans - Zdeno Chara, and Johnny Boychuk.
Always tough-as-nails, Boychuk stepped up. While credit certainly goes to the Captain for the way the blueline stayed strong during the regular season, Boychuk's impact on the young D cannot be underestimated. The inexperience on defense may have caught up to the Bruins in the playoffs, but their quick learning curves during the season shouldn't be forgotten.
When Boychuk spoke with reporters on 'breakup day,' he was still in disbelief that he and his teammates couldn't take their strong season, and translate that into the postseason.
"Still disappointment. I mean, still trying to think about what exactly happened and what we could have done," he said.
"We had such a good team, and I know everybody keeps saying that, but we have to go out there and do it."
'Do you think this team has what it takes?' Boychuk was asked, about the possibility of changes - however slight - in the offseason.
"Yeah definitely. I mean, our team did so well during the regular season - when you do something like that, it's obviously an accomplishment but it's not the ultimate goal."
Boychuk said the losses always sit with him a lot longer than the wins. Given the past three years and how those seasons have ended, there are many memories he'd like to have erased.
As for the summer, the defenseman will be able to enjoy time with his family and twin daughters, heading back to Edmonton as he usually does. He just hasn't thought about any of that yet.
"I have no plans right now, because I didn't really think I was going home."
When looking back at the 2013-14 season, it's hard to miss Soderberg's impact. When he came over from Sweden the year prior, he had a limited role. He had to make many adjustments, on and off the ice. He came into 2013-14 seven pounds lighter and knowing what it takes to play at the NHL level - and compete for the Cup.
Soderberg was a difference-maker on Boston's third line all season and really hit his stride when he moved to his natural spot at center towards the end of January. He was one of the best forwards during the playoffs.
"Yeah, individually I guess it's been pretty good, but I'm disappointed of course," said Soderberg, who didn't really care to focus on any personal positives yet.
"We lost, and I don't know why, and I don't want to think about why," he said, when asked if he could point to what happened.
"I really don't have a good answer, I think nobody has - we felt like we had a good chance this year, had a good team, a good group, but for some reason we didn't do that."
Soderberg became an integral part of the team this season. Whenever he does begin thinking about 2014-15, he'll build off his strong year.
"I don't really want to think about that right now, but it's going to be the same preparation. Another four months until camp, that's a long time, but it's going to be the same preparation."
Faced with two concussions and ample time out of the lineup, Loui Eriksson never got to his full potential with the Bruins in 2013-14.
"It's definitely been a challenge. I'd never been through injuries and definitely coming to a new team, with everything and to adjust to everything, how we play here with the system and everything," said Eriksson. "But I learned a lot this year and I'll take with me the good stuff from this year and try to come in next season even better."
"I learned a lot from this year, how we play and how they want me to play too, so now I'm all set for coming into next season, I know that stuff now, and I'm already kind of excited to start a new season, since it ended too fast here."
Eriksson was at his best when playing with his countryman Soderberg. The pair worked well with each other, like Milan Lucic and David Krejci, or Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Had Chris Kelly not been injured, that trio could have done damage in the postseason.
Like Soderberg, Eriksson isn't a man of many words, but sometimes it doesn't take many words to get a feeling across.
"It was definitely tough, a tough few days here," said Eriksson. "It's never fun to lose, and that way in a Game 7, it's not fun."
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