CHICAGO – In case you were wondering, the Stanley Cup Final loss to the Chicago Blackhawks still stings quite a bit for the members of the Bruins that ultimately failed in a memorable six game series last summer.
Patrice Bergeron bristled at the “Chicago Blackhawks: 2013 Stanley Cup Champions” painted in bright red letters at one of the Johnny’s Icehouse West practice rink where the Bruins went through their motions on Saturday afternoon. It certainly brought back to the heartache of losing to the Hawks in six games, and the frightening memory of dealing with a lung that was 30 percent collapsed after the Game 6 loss.
“It’s the regular season, but it is obvious there’s going to be some emotion there [on Sunday],” said Bergeron, who was hampered by a broken rib and collapsed lung in the last two games of the series. “It was heartbreaking. The last thing you want to do is go out there and lose when you’re that close to meeting your goal for the season.
“It’s hard even right now. It hurts just to see the 2013 [Stanley Cup champions] on the wall [at Chicago’s practice rink]. But it’s in the past. You’ve got to move on. Tomorrow is a big challenge, and they’re a great team. We’ve got to be ready for that.”
Milan Lucic, on the other hand, sounded as if he’d been replaying the Cup Final series in his mind since touching down in Chicago late Thursday night, and the pain was fresh with reminders while preparing for the Blackhawks.
“It hurts. You replay the last [1:16]…I’ve replayed it in my mind 100 times since that [Game 6] moment. Obviously there are always questions. It goes right off the post and right on [Dave] Bolland’s stick,” said Lucic. “You almost start to think what you could’ve done [differently]. And it’s not just the Game 6. It’s Game 1 when we were up 3-1 with eight minutes left, and they were able to tie it and win it.
“Then being up 2-1 in the series, and then we don’t take care of business in Game 4. Those are the things that kind of haunt you in the summertime when you replay it over in your mind. It sucks thinking about it, and you want to do everything you can to move past it. We’re trying our best to play as well we can, and move past it.”
Clearly a regular season win in January over the Blackhawks at the Madhouse on Madison isn’t going to exorcise the heavy sense of loss that still clouds the 2013 Stanley Cup Final for the Boston Bruins. But it would still feel pretty good for Bruins stalwarts like Bergeron, Lucic, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask, Brad Marchand, Johnny Boychuk and David Krejci to put together a strong winning effort on Sunday afternoon, and at least keep “Chelsea Dagger” from playing a few too many times on this trip to the Windy City.
Bruins coach Claude Julien fully admitted the fresh hurt of getting to within two wins of another Stanley Cup hoisting before falling short against the Blackhawks, but wanted his players to embrace the idea of moving onward and upward past the six game series against Chicago.
"There's no doubt it hurts, but you've got to get over it," said Claude Julien. "If all you rely on is the hurt and the past, then you can't move forward."
Perhaps playing them again will bring that closure that Julien is looking for.