BRIGHTON, MA – One thing we can say for certainty about the Boston Bruins is that it’s going to take them some time to figure out exactly what happened during their first-round failure against the Florida Panthers.
There weren’t really one or two things that went wrong for a team that won an NHL-record 65 wins and piled up 135 points during a magical regular season where pretty much nothing went awry for the Black and Gold. In some ways that set them up for failure when they ran up against a talented, deep Florida Panthers crew that was much better than the wild card spot they earned after a season filled with injuries and inconsistency.
But let’s call it what so many of the Boston Bruins couldn’t bring themselves to say as they cleaned out their locker stalls at Warrior Ice Arena. It was a choke on par with many, many Boston Bruins playoff failures of the past during the era when it seems like they perpetually disappointed in the spring.
“You feel bad for yourself. But you feel sad for the older guys more than you do for yourself, if I’m being honest,” said Trent Frederic. “I don’t know if we choked or whatever you want to call it, but that part is going to hurt forever, I guess.
“We know how good of a team we had, and I don’t know if any of us will ever be on a team this good again. It’s hard to wrap your head around it, if that makes sense. How do you win, if our team was that good that’s what happened? That’s something we’ll have to take time and figure out. I don’t know if anybody has been able to put a finger on what happened, and I don’t know if we ever will.”
Certainly, it was tough for anybody that has watched Patrice Bergeron’s greatness over the last two decades to think this is how it might end for him.
Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci share a long hug. A long hug with Brad Marchand at the end and a wave to the crowd. Class all the way by Patrice. A disappointing end to the Bruins season pic.twitter.com/rY73pFjZNC
— The Camera Guys (@NBCSCameraGuys) May 1, 2023
It shouldn’t be up there with the most notorious chokes in Boston sports history simply because of the stage. Bill Buckner let a 1986 World Series championship go right through his legs for the Boston Red Sox, and the Boston Bruins fell flat in Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final against a St. Louis Blues team that they could, and should, have beaten when the playoff field opened up for them after the first round.