Most people, fans and pundits alike, assumed fireworks and seismic changes were in store for the Boston Bruins after they fell in five games to the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the playoffs.
It certainly felt that way to core members of the Bruins roster as they got uncharacteristically emotional and somber after falling well short against Tampa Bay for the second time in three postseasons. Maybe some of it was just the depressing nature of players isolated and away from their families in the protective COVID-19 bubble coupled with the suddenness of the defeat. But there was also an undeniable expectation the Black and Gold were in store for significant roster turnover following the Oct. 9 opening of free agency.
That was backed up by the B’s front office comments a month ago in the wake of that disappointing, limp playoff defeat.
“[Right] now we’re talking another four, five months off. How are we going to play? How are we going to react to that? What does that season look like? There are all these questions still unanswered right now,” said Boston Bruins President Cam Neely. “That doesn’t mean that we can’t take a hard look at our roster and our organization and see where we should be going for this next year or two. That’s what my message has been, is ‘let’s really take a look and see where we’re going to be.’ Can we compete for the Stanley Cup and if everyone feels we can compete for the Stanley Cup, what do we have to do to get back to that final twosome and have a legitimate shot to win?
“It seems like it’s one season during the regular season. The style is a lot different, especially in our division. Or at least it has been historically. And then you get to the playoffs, to your point, we’re going to face some good teams in the playoffs. You have to look at how you want to play against those teams and what you need to do and maybe change to try and beat those teams. it’s not just Tampa, there are other great teams in our conference as well as division.”
Boy, wasn’t that the polar opposite of what’s actually happened with the Black and Gold?