Banged up Bergeron can't cash in on OT chance

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Banged up Bergeron can't cash in on OT chance

Patrice Bergeron gave it everything he could.

The Bruins two-way center was taking it the hardest of almost anybody as he stood and discussed the season being over after the Bruins had dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to the Washington Capitals, and perhaps with good reason. Bergeron played through nagging injuries during the year including a slapper off the knee in a road game against the Penguins that couldnt even knock him out for a game and had a final upper-body issue that nagged at him in the final two plus games of Bostons first round defeat against the Caps.

Bergeron didnt want to discuss the specifics of the injury in the postgame locker room, and instead wanted to work through the emotions of loss, despair and emptiness that always arrive for the Bs assistant captain. He made it through 19:53 of ice time and a couple of shots on net along with another successful face-off, but it was more readily apparent in Game 7 that the injury was affecting him as he uncharacteristically lost one-on-one battles all over the ice thats usually his domain.

I dont want to use that tonight. Ill let you guys know. I dont want to talk about it right now if you guys dont mind, said Bergeron. Obviously on the checkout day on Friday Ill let you guys know.

It was a little better but not much better. Like I said I dont want to use that as an excuse right now. Its a tough one to swallow and I really dont want to put that on an injury. Im not the only one that goes through that stuff.

In the cruel twist of fate from the hockey gods, they saw fit to hand a weakened Bergeron the chance to win it right out of overtime. Dennis Seidenberg rifled a shot that hand-cuffed Braden Holtby before it bounced to Bergeron crashing the net just 45 seconds into the overtime session.

The puck was bouncing wildly in front of the Bs center masquerading as a right wing due to injury, and he tried to corral as best he could wincing all the way. Instead Bergeron wobbled a shot wide of the largely-vacant net to the left side and the TD Garden fans groaned knowing that theyd frittered away a golden scoring opportunity in the extra session.

It kind of exploded just rolled on my stick and the puck was bouncing, said Bergeron. I just tried to go quick because obviously there wasnt a lot of time and the puck wouldnt settle.

You look at all the overtime goals in this series, its always like that. Its a tough break or a lucky bounce and the other team doesnt get that. I think thats what it is. It was overtime and its one shot.

In the end Bergeron was just another member of the Bruins that was banged up and less than 100 percent of himself at the end of a long, challenging season for the reigning Stanley Cup champs. But No. 37 can hold his head high that he answered the bell at every turn even when things got tough and more than a little wince-worthy this season.

Morning Skate: Overreacting to the Oilers' window

Morning Skate: Overreacting to the Oilers' window

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while really enjoying what the CW does season in and season out with the Flash.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Don Brennan says that the Senators fans not showing up for Game 6 is their way of sticking it to Sens owner Eugene Melnyk.

*The talk is turning to the next captain of the Buffalo Sabres, and what they can do to help open up communication up and down the roster.  

*A guy that wore a Habs toque on his twitter avatar writes a glowing, praise-filled article about the performance of PK Subban during these Stanley Cup playoffs. He’s undoubtedly been good, but he just might have been wearing his Montreal Canadiens footie pajamas when he wrote this one, and rattling his fist at Habs management all the while.

*Interesting piece by Jason Gregor about the “window to win” for the Edmonton Oilers, and an odd notion that the window will close when Connor McDavid has moved out of his entry level contract. I’d say that’s kind of ludicrous.

*The Colorado Avalanche coaching staff has been let go after last year’s dreadful season, and that’s too bad for a really good guy in former Providence College head coach Tim Army. I’m sure he won’t be out of work long.

*Colin White made his Stanley Cup playoff and NHL debut for the Ottawa Senators in Game 6, and helped push Ottawa to a Game 7. It will be interesting to watch the Massachusetts native and former Boston College standout develop with the Senators as White was one of the players that the Bruins skipped over to instead draft Jake DeBrusk and Zach Senyshyn in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft. The others, Mathew Barzal, Travis Konecny and Kyle Connor, are all either in the NHL or knocking on the door as well, and it’s going to be a challenging road for both of Boston’s forward prospects to live up the justification of the B’s drafting them first. Granted DeBrusk and Senyshyn are also both doing their thing for the P-Bruins as they push into the conference finals of the Calder Cup playoffs, and they’re both bright prospects in their own right. It’s going to take years to determine the rights and wrongs of that first round, but White getting into the lineup for the Senators is proof of just how high that organization is on him.

*Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan says that Sidney Crosby handled the targeted abuse well from the Senators in a Game 6 loss that will push to a Game 7 between the Penguins and the Senators.

*For something completely different: A great message from Brookline homey and former Sox GM wonder boy Theo Epstein in his commencement address to Yale University.

Morning Skate: Do Caps have mental block come playoff time?

Morning Skate: Do Caps have mental block come playoff time?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while thinking about and praying for the people of Manchester, England. It’s obviously an evil, cowardly act to bomb any public place, but to do it at a concert filled with women and children is the lowest of the low.

*The Capitals players are acknowledging that there’s some kind of mental block with the Stanley Cup playoffs. CSN Mid-Atlantic has all the details.

*It’s been a very odd postseason for the NHL where there are so many non-traditional teams still alive with the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Fina, and the Ottawa Senators fighting for their lives in the Eastern Conference Final. On that note, there is a ton of disappointment at the empty seats at the Canadian Tire Centre for Ottawa’s home games in the playoffs. It sounds like there are going to be empty seats tonight for a do-or-die Game 6 in Ottawa. That is an embarrassment for a Canadian city that’s supposed to pride itself on their love of hockey. Let’s hope the Senators fans have a last-minute surge to buy tickets and show some appreciation for a Senators team that’s given the Ottawa fans a totally unexpected ride through the postseason this spring. I mean, Erik Karlsson at the top of his game is worth the price of admission all by himself.  

*The Pittsburgh Penguins have the Senators on the ropes, and it’s been an impressive showing given that they’re doing it without Kris Letang.

*Pro Hockey Talk has the ownership for the St. Louis Blues giving their GM Doug Armstrong a vote of confidence.

*Another early exit from the playoffs is going to start making some players expendable on the New York Rangers roster.

*Here’s a good piece on how David Poile built the Nashville Predators, who have reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first time. Give credit where it’s due: He manned up and made a big move dealing away Shea Weber straight up for PK Subban. It’s really worked for Music City as they’ve stepped to the next level.

*Speaking of Nashville’s rise this spring in a wide open Western Conference, Pekka Rinne has silenced the critics he might have had by carrying his team to the Cup Final.

*For something completely different: Boston law enforcement is on high alert after the bombing of the Ariana Grande concert in the UK.