When the Boston Bruins were eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs, many believed their championship window was slammed shut.
If you ask legendary broadcaster Doc Emrick, however, that window is still ajar. He shared an optimistic take on the Bruins' 2021 chances on Thursday.
"I think they're still fine," Emrick said. "If you take a look up the middle -- when we assess teams, we assess goalie, we assess defense and we assess up the middle. And if you have [Patrice] Bergeron, [David] Krejci, [Charlie] Coyle, [Sean] Kuraly, that's OK.
"And the defense that [the Bruins] have, I realize Torey Krug is [with the St. Louis Blues], he's with the enemy. ... But as long as you have some of the stabilizers back on defense, that will help greatly. And you have the Coach of the Year and a wonderful, uniting human being who paces that bench. And I can't say enough about [Bruce] Cassidy."
The Bruins still have the talent to win a fair share of games in 2021, but their core players aren't getting any younger. Bergeron is 35 years old, Krejci is 34, Brad Marchand is 32 and while it remains to be seen whether Zdeno Chara returns, he's 42.
Fortunately, there is some young talent with David Pastrnak (23) coming off a season in which tied for the NHL lead with 48 goals, Charlie McAvoy (22) continuing his development, and Jake DeBrusk (23) looking to prove himself after signing a two-year contract extension. Krug's departure hurts, but fellow defenseman Brandon Carlo (23) has shown promise.
Will all of that be enough to propel the B's to another Cup title before their window officially closes? Only time will tell. But if you ask Emrick, it isn't time to count them out just yet.
If you want to read more about his legendary career and how he came from a small Indiana town to become the voice of hockey, check out Doc Emrick’s new book “Off Mike.”