Throughout his team’s seven-game series loss to the Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery has maintained a ‘No regrets’ mantra.
‘No regrets, no regrets,” the first-year Boston Bruins bench boss and Jack Adams Award favorite said on Saturday after his team lost Game 6 and allowed the Panthers to force a Game 7 after the Bruins held a 3-1 series lead.
After the Bruins completed what could go down as one of the worst choke jobs in Boston sports history with a 4-3 overtime loss in Game 7, Jim Montgomery did his best to maintain that stance.
“The way it ended didn’t matter, how it ended, it just — the season’s over,” he said. “I guess the words that come to mind right now are, disappointment, confusion and then I would say the other part is, you start looking at the season. It was an honor to coach that group. I know we didn’t get to where we wanted, I get that, but their professionalism, their work ethic, their commitment to being pros, it was a joy to be around.”
Montgomery was then asked to get into the X’s and O’s and where he went wrong against an upstart Florida Panthers team?
“To give you a real intelligent answer about that right now, I just, I can’t contemplate about it — I felt we had the right personnel and I have to take some responsibility for not being able to get us to play north quicker, so if I can answer that right now, I’d say it lies on me,” Montgomery replied when asked about the vicious Panthers’ forecheck that ate the Boston Bruins up throughout this series.
After watching his team win the 2023 Presidents’ Trophy, and become the winningest (wins and points), team in NHL regular season history, and then poof! It was over. Like his whole team was probably wondering what they could have done to prevent a third-straight loss for the first time since Jan. 26-29, Montgomery was asked what he felt he did wrong in his third Stanley Cup Playoffs series as an NHL head coach?
“That’s a good question — I think the only thing I can look at right now and say I would have done different is starting Game 5, I would have had Bergeron and Marchand together, it took me eight minutes to get to there.,” Montgomery replied. “Don’t know if it makes a difference, but you know, that’s the only thing that I look at right now that I would change. I don’t have very much regret with anything that we did, that’s why I said I’d have to analyze more on this series and have a better, more intelligent answer about where we went wrong.”
Count this puck scribe in as not having that answer in on his Montgomery mistakes Bingo card.
Throughout the series and in a Game 7 crescendo of texts from some NHL executive and plenty of NHL scout sources to Boston Hockey Now, the common thread 0f criticism on the Boston Bruins was the goalie situation. Whether it was injury speculation or saying ‘Ullmark can’t handle the playoffs’, like the fans, these sources couldn’t figure out why he stuck with a goalie ‘that just didn’t have it’ and waited until Game 7 to make the switch.
*Note* – I originally supported Montgomery staying with the embattled Ullmark believing he earned that trust after the historic and Vezina Trophy-worthy regular season he had, but, I was wrong.
Some of those same sources though also questioned other lineup decisions though and wondered why Montgomery kept putting a ‘hesitant’ Hampus Lindholm in so many pressure situations?
Montgomery may provide answers for those critiques and will most definitely find more mistakes in his first playoff experience as head coach of the Bruins in the coming days, and months. Being one of the best coaches in the NHL, he will correct those, but this unexpected first round exit will always make him and the 2022-23 Boston Bruins regret what could have been.