BOSTON – The words “disappointing” and “inconsistent” were bandied about a whole lot on Monday morning in the Bruins home dressing room as the players packed up their things, and readied for another long offseason. After seven straight years of playoffs, the Bruins have now missed the Eastern Conference cut by less than a handful of points in each of the two underwhelming regular season efforts and could do little in the “breakup day setting” except insist that they need to be better.
“I play with a lot of emotions, and I can’t really hide them very well sometimes. No doubt, that was very emotional,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, who was visibly angry in the minutes following the 6-1 matinee loss to the Senators last weekend. “I’m still very upset about the situation, and yeah, it’s going to be there for a while. Obviously it’s a situation that I hate to be in, and I think we all hate to be in.
“If you don’t have the effort, you won’t have results. I can’t really tell you that the whole season’s been a disappointment. We’ve shown some positive stretches and things that we’ve done well, and we improved. But when times were [there] to fold up or respond, we always kind of find ourselves taking steps backwards. That was one of the things that was disappointing and frustrating.”
The 3-8-1 finish in the final 12 games doomed the Bruins to drop behind both the Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers with the three teams fighting for two spots. Losing two of the final three games in a must-win stretch at home was one of the biggest indignities, and the 17-18-6 home ice record was a complete failure in front of fans spending big bucks for tickets at TD Garden.
So the Bruins have the taste of disappointment fresh in their mouths, and seemed genuinely stunned to be in the exact same position of misfortune two springs in a row as some of their NHL brethren are preparing for the playoffs.
“It’s frustrating. But you know what we don’t feel sorry for ourselves. It’s our fault and you know we have to live with that feeling for the next four, five months,” said David Krejci. “We all knew how important it was, we just didn’t bring it for whatever reason. So obviously it’s tough. We’re not looking for any excuses. We should have been ready. We should’ve won the game [against the Senators], but we didn’t. For whatever reason, we just didn’t play the same as we did two nights before that [against the Red Wings].”
The Bruins players will now have the rest of the spring and summer to deeply think about what happened this season, and last season as well for that matter, and start scouring for answers that will turn things around on Causeway Street.