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Despite Loss, Bruins Excited for Future

Young players fuel hope for the franchise

Tuesday, 04.22.2008 / 8:23 AM ET / Features
The Canadian Press
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Despite Loss, Bruins Excited for Future
Montreal, QC - Milan Lucic, much like his Boston Bruins, made a statement in these playoffs.

Though the disappointment of losing Game 7 to the Montreal Canadiens was still fresh in his mind, Lucic was able to find the silver lining in a season where the Bruins overcame more challenges than perhaps any team in the NHL.

"I'm proud of what we've accomplished this season," said Lucic, 19, who emerged as a future star with his rugged play in the series. "No one gave us a chance from the start of the season and even the start of this series. I think we've proved a lot of people wrong, and it was a good feeling proving a lot of people wrong. We can build a lot on what we did this year to carry into next year."

The Bruins lost arguably their best player Patrice Bergeron to a concussion Oct. 27, which was the start of a nightmare year where head coach Claude Julien had to patch together a lineup as his team lost 364 man games to injury.

But in the long run, Julien said, that may prove beneficial for his young club.

"I'm really happy with the way our young guys have come along, and that was because some of our injuries allowed some of them to grow quicker," he said. "We're a lot further ahead today than we were at the beginning of the year, or that we expected to be at this time when we looked at our hockey club."

Though the Bruins have many reasons for optimism, it was a little more difficult for them to focus on that seeing as they were so close to advancing to the second round. Captain Zdeno Chara said the pressure of a Game 7 had no impact on his team, because the Bruins have been playing on the edge for the better part of two months.

"We were in a similar situation since there were about 15 or 20 games to go and we were battling for the playoffs," Chara said. "Basically every game since then was do or die, so it was nothing new for us, even though it was the playoffs."

Julien said his team got away from its game plan once the pressure of the situation became too much for them, but he also said it would be a "cowardly excuse" to say his team was emotionally spent.

He added that even though no one gave them a chance against the Canadiens after losing all eight regular season meetings this year, the Bruins never doubted their own chances in the series, even when down 3-1.

"The further along the series went, we gained more and more confidence," Julien said. "We had expectations for ourselves that were much higher than people had for us, and we were convinced we would move on to the next round.

"We didn't particularly care about what was being said outside our room, it was the belief in our room that mattered."




1 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
2 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
3 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
4 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
5 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
6 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
7 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
8 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54


P. Bergeron 81 23 32 2 55
L. Eriksson 81 22 25 1 47
M. Lucic 81 18 26 13 44
C. Soderberg 82 13 31 10 44
B. Marchand 77 24 18 5 42
D. Hamilton 72 10 32 -3 42
R. Smith 81 13 27 7 40
T. Krug 78 12 27 13 39
D. Krejci 47 7 24 7 31
C. Kelly 80 7 21 6 28
T. Rask 34 21 13 .922 2.30
N. Svedberg 7 5 1 .918 2.33
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