Is there a Redemption Song being written by the Boston Bruins who were with the team when they lost the 2013 Stanley Cup Final?
With eleven days off for the Bruins between the Eastern Conference Final and the Stanley Cup Final — set to begin against the St. Louis Blues Monday night at TD Garden (8 PM, NBC) — there was plenty of time for some interesting storylines to develop and hopefully help all pass the time. One common thread, that’s actually not so new, but definitely is on the mind of every Bruins player that was with the team in 2013 is the six-game Stanley Cup Final loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. From Patrice Bergeron to David Krejci to Tuukka Rask to Torey Krug to Zdeno Chara and to Brad Marchand — who on Media Day Sunday, spoke at length about not just what a learning experience the loss was, but how the pain will never subside. For Marchand, it, of course, was about coming that close to the Stanley Cup but was even more about being there for a city that was still reeling from the Boston Marathon bombings.
“It was a tough time for Boston; going through a lot,” Marchand recalled. “We just wanted to be a bright spot and that one hurt a lot. Again, it’s something that I think about all the time to this day, and how much that one hurt and how nice it would’ve been to win. All the things that could’ve gone differently, that I would’ve liked to go differently, that I could’ve done differently, that will never leave me, it’s gonna haunt me.”
In that late spring of 2013, the Boston Bruins were the first local pro sports team to help distract a city in mourning. The city of Boston was in shock and mourning in the aftermath of the Marathon bombings. The suspects were still at large, and the Bruins were slated to play the Buffalo Sabres on NBC on the Wednesday after the marathon. This would be the first sports event since the bombings just under 48 hours before and eventually, the entire city would end up in lockdown that Friday. The crowd took over the National Anthem from Rene Rancourt, and TD Garden became part of “Boston Strong” sending a message to the world they were united. The Bruins lost that game but would end up putting the city on their shoulders for an improbable run to the Final but ending with the Bruins having to watch the Stanley Cup paraded by the Blackhawks on their home ice.
Marchand was asked by Matt Vautour of MassLive what motivates him more? Winning the Cup in 2011 or losing in 2013 and Marchand didn’t mince words or try and hide the pain he clearly still feels.
“You can draw from both,” Marchand said. “It was so sweet to win, but it hurts to lose. That was devastating. That still hurts till this day. I probably look back more on the loss than the win and what I would do differently than in the win. That’s something; you lose something like this, you’re that close, you worked that hard. …it never leaves you, and hopefully, we don’t feel that way again.”
Dan Roche of WBZ Boston then mentioned how New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady always says he remembers the Super Bowl losses more than the wins.
“It hurts to lose,” Marchand said agreeing with Brady’s feeling. “You’re so close, and one play can separate a winning team from a losing team. When you’re that close, and you watch another team celebrate and know it should be you, it’s a tough pill to swallow.”
Earlier in the playoffs, Bergeron — who played Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final with torn rib cartilage, a broken rib, a punctured lung, and later ended up hospitalized with a collapsed lung — echoed Marchand’s memories.
“That one was tough for sure, obviously the toughest loss so far for me,” Bergeron said. “We know the opportunity we have here, and we want to reward our fans too.”
There’s been a clear message throughout this layoff that the veteran core that swallowed that pill doesn’t intend to do so against the Blues or ever again if they can have a say in it and Marchand has no interest in doing that again. The Bruins – not to the extent they were in 2013 – are likely just as banged up as the Blues, if not more. That’s how any team still standing at this point in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is and Marchand isn’t worried about that though. He and that core just want to do what they couldn’t do in 2013.
“You play with what you have and you play with as healthy or unhealthy you are at this time of year,” Marchand said. “At the end of the day there’s no excuses, it doesn’t matter. If you lose, no one’s looking at ya saying ‘Well, it would’ve been different if. …’ and if you win, you have guys that are banged up too. So, at the end of the day, win or lose with what you have and it all plays out.”
Thanks to 2013, Marchand and this core get what it means to make it this far but know much it can be rendered meaningless in a hurry. As far as he’s concerned, his 100-point season is an afterthought if the Bruins don’t complete the job and win their second Stanley Cup in eight years.
“If you don’t win, you might as well not make the playoffs because you’re a loser just like any other team,” Marchand said. “You’re either a winner or your not. So regardless of the personal stats, they’re all for the goal at the end of the day, and we’re just trying to win a Cup.”