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.

WATCH: Bruins' Backes battles with Benn right after opening faceoff

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WATCH: Bruins' Backes battles with Benn right after opening faceoff

Now THIS is old-time hockey!

There's bad blood between the Bruins' David Backes and the Stars' Jamie Benn that goes back a long way, most recently in last spring's Dallas-St. Louis playoff series when Backes was still with the Blues. They met again today -- and the ungodly (hockey) hour of 11:30 a.m. Dallas time -- for a nationally televised game between Backes' new team, the Bruins, and the Stars.

And it didn't take long for the two to renew acquaintances . . .

Haggerty's Morning Skate: Two AHL teams recreate Slap Shot on the movie's anniversary

Haggerty's Morning Skate: Two AHL teams recreate Slap Shot on the movie's anniversary

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while so glad to see Dave Strader getting the play-by-play call in this afternoon’s national NBC broadcast of Stars and Bruins from Dallas.
 
-- Jeremy Roenick weighs in with some trade possibilities involving Avalanche and Blues players in what could be a blockbuster at the deadline.
 
-- Antoine Vermette acknowledges his wrongdoing in making a statement about his 10-game suspension for slashing an official, but feels like the punishment was too severe.
 
-- Don Cherry wishes a happy 40th anniversary to Slap Shot while wearing a Charleston Chiefs jersey as he hosts Coaches Corner.
 
-- Speaking of Slap Shot, what an Old Time Hockey fight between the AHL's Iowa Wild and Chicago Wolves. It spilled into the hallway afterward . . . that’s when things get real.

-- I've been asked multiple times about the white Boston hat David Pastrnak is always wearing in the Bruins dressing room, so here it is.

 -- Here’s all the Dallas Stars info you need ahead of this afternoon’s 11:30 a.m. local start in Dallas for the Stars and Bruins.

-- PHT writer Cam Tucker has Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning indicating that the mumps outbreak for his team won’t impact the trade deadline.
 
-- For something completely different: the headline seems a little click baity to me, but I’ll read about anything involving Homer Simpson and the Baseball Hall of Fame.