Bruins struggle to wrap their heads around loss

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Bruins struggle to wrap their heads around loss

The reality was painful for some players, and perhaps a relief to others. After playing 196 hockey games over the last 17 months, the Bruins find themselves eliminated from the first round of the playoffs for the first time since Claude Juliens first season in Boston.

The series loss to the Capitals was one they were favored to win as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. They had dreams of repeating as Cup champs dancing through their heads, but it wasnt meant to be.

The reality was more than some could wrap their brains around in the home dressing room after it was all over.

We . . . were kinda used to going on all the way, you know? said Johnny Boychuk. To be done now its like . . . its kind of hard to even understand. Its like you cant even believe its over right now.

Dennis Seidenberg was one of the few Bruins players that excelled at a high level throughout the seven-game series, a credit to his mental toughness and the genius of German engineering. But even he said it was stunning to think there will be no practice or team meetings for the Bruins on Thursday.

Its such a weird feeling. You play hard and its a tight game and suddenly a bounce goes against you. Suddenly the seasons over, said Seidenberg. For the first few minutes, and even right now, youre wondering what time practice is tomorrow. But there is no practice. I mean its going to be a long summer and we have to get ready for next year again.

In some ways perhaps a first round exit isnt such a bad thing in terms of motivation. The Bruins have enjoyed five straight seasons of playoff appearances and climbed the mountaintop to win the Stanley Cup last season. A reminder of how difficult the path can be was probably in order.

So now the Bruins think about things for a couple of days. They will say their final goodbyes on Friday while they pack up their bags, conduct exit interviews, and get their final physicals. Then theyll be scattered off to the four corners of the world while eight NHL teams continue on a journey the Bruins fully expected to be taking once again.

Sometimes its not so bad to be denied what you want, and it should make for a revamped Bruins team thats just a little more dialed in next year.

Saturday, Jan. 21: McKenzie on Julien's job security

Saturday, Jan. 21: McKenzie on Julien's job security

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while proud of my wife and daughter participating in today’s Women’s March.

*This is from a few days ago, but Bob McKenzie weighing in on the prospects for Claude Julien and his job security is always worth checking out.  

*The New York Rangers have themselves a rookie named Pavel that’s doing a pretty darned good job for the Blueshirts.

*What should the St. Louis Blues do with Kevin Shattenkirk as the trade deadline approaches and the seven-year, $49 million contract waiting for him in free agency is pretty daunting?

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Allen has a list of underperforming NHL stars, including Jamie Benn and Jonathan Toews, that may have been impacted by the World Cup of Hockey. Certainly Patrice Bergeron could have made this list as well.

*Blackhawks backup goalie Scott Darling may be earning some more playing time after the way he performed against the Bruins, according to Pro Hockey Talk.

*Good news with Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson set to return to the team in a couple of weeks after tending to his wife in a battle against cancer.

*The struggles of Anthony Duclair with the Arizona Coyotes mirror the team’s issues this season as well. It’s interesting that Duclair has popped up in trade rumors with the Desert Dogs this season.

*For something completely different: the final Wolverine movie with Hugh Jackman is going to be extremely emotional with its characters.


 

Both Millers missing from Bruins practice, but trending toward return

Both Millers missing from Bruins practice, but trending toward return

BRIGHTON, Mass – While both Kevan Miller and Colin Miller were missing from Bruins practice on Saturday morning, both injured Bruins defensemen could be rejoining the team soon.

Colin Miller skated on his own prior to Saturday’s team practice at Warrior Ice Arena for the second or third time since suffering a lower body injury in the win over the St. Louis Blues. Claude Julien said his presence on the ice was proof that the puck-moving defenseman is “definitely on the mend”, and could be nearing a return to practice soon with Sunday marking the sixth straight game that he’ll have missed.

Kevan Miller is out with a concussion suffered last weekend in the win over the Philadelphia Flyers, and the B’s current three-game losing streak has coincided with his absence from the lineup.

Julien said Miller has actually been away from the team for the last couple of days while dealing with a virus, and that his recovery from the concussion symptoms was good prior to being knocked down by the illness.

“Kevan was actually feeling really well and then he got hit by a virus that’s kept him in bed for the last two days,” said Julien. “It’s nothing to do with his original injury. There was a possibility he could have been ready very soon, but that’s set him back a bit.”

Both are obviously out for Sunday’s matinee against the Penguins, but a return to practice at some point next week seems like a good bet for both players. Here are the line combos and defense pairings from Saturday’s practice with the Bruins focusing on getting a good result in Pittsburgh with the hockey club on a “mom’s trip” with 22 of the players’ mothers traveling with the team to and from the game:

Marchand-Bergeron-Vatrano

Schaller-Krejci-Pastrnak

Spooner-Nash-Backes/Hayes

Blidh/Beleskey-Moore-Czarnik

 

Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

Morrow-Liles

 

Rask

McIntyre