Patrice Bergeron’s timeline, a looming cap crunch, and different takeaways from Bruins’ end-of-season press convention


“I can’t sit right here and BS anyone, this stung.”

The Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney, CEO Charlie Jacobs, President Cam Neely and coach Jim Montgomery held an end of season press conference at TD Garden.
The Bruins are nonetheless trying to find solutions in wake of their first-round exit towards the Panthers. John Tlumacki/Globe Workers

9 days after the Bruins’ record-setting season led to a stunning first-round exit towards the Panthers, Boston’s high brass gathered at TD Backyard to replicate on a season lower brief and the painful selections that await this summer season.

As anticipated, Jim Montgomery’s candid feedback about his dealing with of Boston’s goalie rotation and different lineup miscues captured many of the headlines from Tuesday’s presser.

However Montgomery, Don Sweeney, Cam Neely, and Charlie Jacobs supplied up quite a few different ideas on the state of the franchise transferring ahead and simply how the 2022-23 marketing campaign went awry.

Listed here are some further takeaways from the Bruins’ closing press convention for the 2022-23 season:

A primary-round exit stands amongst one of many worst defeats in franchise historical past

As Carter Verhaeghe snapped a puck previous Jeremy Swayman in additional time on April 30, the Bruins have been nonetheless 13 wins away from hoisting the Stanley Cup.

Boston nonetheless wanted to beat three extra opponents en path to seeing their record-setting season by means of. Lots extra may have gone unsuitable between a second-round assembly with the Maple Leafs and extra matchups into June.

However given the physique of labor this roster put forth from October by means of April, coupled with the murky futures of each Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, a first-round defeat was close to the highest of Neely’s record of disheartening outcomes for this franchise.

“It’s been fairly an empty feeling to be trustworthy with you,” Neely stated. “You check out 2019, the loss in Sport 7 [of the Stanley Cup Final], this can be a shut second for me. … I can’t sit right here and BS anyone, this stung. This stung.”

For months, the 2022-23 Bruins appeared destined for a fruitful Cup marketing campaign. A final kick on the can for veterans like Bergeron and Krejci had the possibility of being validated with a title.

However all of Boston’s regular-season accolades will ring hole within the wake of a crushing defeat to a Panthers workforce 43 factors beneath them within the standings.

“You take a look at the season, and also you lose sight of the accomplishment due to the failure,” Sweeney stated. “That’s what you’re in the end going to be judged upon and that’s what we join. So, you are taking accountability and possession. … Accountability rests with every one in every of us, and it lives with you, it simply does. It sits within the bones and folks may not fairly perceive, but it surely does.”

Bruins’ tried-and-true system unraveled at a essential time

Montgomery’s lineup reshuffles and reliance on Ullmark didn’t assist Boston because it let a 3-1 sequence benefit slip away towards the Panthers.

However in relation to doling out blame, the gamers themselves need to look inward after a number of self-inflicted errors and uncharacteristic gaffes.

All season lengthy, the Bruins have been bolstered by stout goaltending, poised puck motion, and a knack for snuffing out third-period rallies.

These hallmarks hardly ever introduced themselves towards Florida, with Ullmark’s sterling numbers in internet cratering and Boston coughing up a number of third-period leads in Video games 6 and seven.

“On the finish of the day, ailing time for execution was a large drawback for us,” Sweeney famous. “Specifically, in among the video games, you realize, breakdown in construction, which we actually hadn’t accomplished for the overwhelming majority of the season. And our goaltending wasn’t on the identical ranges because the common season. So these three issues mixed are going to result in variance in outcomes.

“I believe Sport 6 is a little bit of a snapshot of what sort of went unsuitable for us at factors of the sequence the place we’re in management for a overwhelming majority of video games, we shut video games,” Sweeney added later. “So now we have the arrogance to do these issues and it, you realize, dissipated in key moments proper up till Sport 7, the place we’re in full management of the hockey recreation with a minute to go.”

An excessive amount of strain?

The Bruins’ failure to execute and lack of ability to regulate to Florida’s forechecking strain have been bewildering developments following a season the place little appeared to throw this roster off track.

Though the Panthers’ efforts to power Boston into ill-timed selections with the puck yielded efficient outcomes, Neely puzzled if the elevated stakes discovered on this record-setting season began to put on on the dressing room as soon as the calendar flipped to the postseason.

“When you recall going into final season, all people had us as a possible wild card workforce,” Neely stated. “So, there was zero expectations going into this previous season. … We find yourself having this historic 12 months, my concern was, ‘Okay, are the blokes going to place an excessive amount of strain on themselves due to the common season we had, and the expectation simply went by means of the roof.’ So, I had a pair gamers on the exit conferences really apologize, saying, ‘You guys gave us a wagon of a workforce, and we didn’t execute.’

“So the gamers, they know. Gamers know when you might have an opportunity to win and while you don’t. They knew we had an opportunity to win. They knew we had an opportunity to go deep. And for no matter motive, we didn’t play the best way we performed within the common season… Sport 3 was in all probability our greatest recreation. However we didn’t play the best way we performed within the common season. The arrogance, the nerves, I don’t know what it was, however these are the issues that now we have to dig into. Narratives began to vary, you win the Presidents’ Trophy, groups hardly ever win the Stanley Cup. So, all these issues… the skin noise perhaps creeped a bit of bit in for me.”

As for the front-office personnel, Jacobs isn’t pointing fingers at Boston’s administration for his or her efforts at crafting a deep, Cup-caliber roster.

“I do really feel like our administration pushed all the precise buttons this 12 months to ship the very best workforce we may for our followers,” Jacobs stated.

Linus Ullmark was wholesome sufficient to play 

Sweeney pushed again towards a report from ESPN’s Kevin Weekes that Linus Ullmark was enjoying by means of a “debilitating and painful” damage throughout the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

Nonetheless, Sweeney acknowledged that Ullmark was not utterly wholesome this spring. The optics of Ullmark’s limitations have been powerful to disregard because the first-round sequence progressed.

After posting 40 wins and a .938 save proportion throughout the common season, Ullmark went 3-3 with an .896 save proportion towards the Panthers.

Ullmark opted to not make clear his actual damage throughout the workforce’s break-up day final week. 

“We get a report that’s who is out there, and Linus was totally out there to play,” Sweeney stated. “He had one thing that was occurring on the very, very finish of the season, but it surely had cleared up for him to be eligible to play and had he not been, we definitely would have made a distinct resolution. We felt very comfy all 12 months with the rotation we had and confidence in each goaltenders.”  

Bruins able to play the ready recreation with Bergeron, Krejci

Transferring ahead, the Bruins discover themselves in an analogous place to final offseason.

Earlier than Sweeney and his employees can start tinkering with this roster, they must await phrase on if one (or each) of Bergeron and Krejci plan on returning for an additional season in a black-and-gold sweater.

Though Sweeney obtained phrase early final spring that each pivots have been occupied with coming again, Boston nonetheless operated with a number of contingency plans in place for roster development.

Sweeney expects the workforce to function underneath an analogous mandate this summer season as each Bergeron and Krejci mull over their choices.

“We went by means of this train final offseason in placing collectively two form of simultaneous rosters,” Sweeney stated. “I in all probability had a sign early sufficient final summer season to go within the path that we have been in a position to execute. Some issues got here after that, Pavel Zacha is an instance of kind of understanding the place we could also be and the place we wish to be.

“The aim was to construct the deepest workforce that we presumably may, and we fell brief, in the end and the aim shall be — you take a look at the core group of fellows that we at the moment have that had very, very profitable common seasons and we’ll construct round that, perhaps it’ll be integrating youthful gamers. You may already see the place our minds are going by way of operating simultaneous issues and we’ll respect the timelines on David and Patrice as crucial.”

Restricted cap room goes to result in some roster turnover 

The return of both Bergeron or Krejci will assist set the desk for Boston’s offseason to-do record.

However with a bit of underneath $5 million in out there cap house, the Bruins are going to have their work lower out for them including to this roster.

Past Bergeron and Krejci, the Bruins have six different pending unrestricted free brokers this offseason, together with their trio of deadline leases in Tyler Bertuzzi, Dmitry Orlov, and Garnet Hathaway.

Boston might want to filter out cap house as a way to realistically hand out offers at market worth.

“I couldn’t simply categorically signal these gamers as we speak,” Sweeney stated of Bertuzzi, Orlov, and Hathaway. “Our cap state of affairs, we leveraged a bit of bit. Everyone is aware of our overage at [$4.5 million]. So now we have some constraints, as do a number of different groups across the league.

“Our aim was to place the season on the best possible roster we may put collectively and attempt to take an actual reliable run and we failed, no query. So, now we have to pay that ahead a bit of bit.”

Odds and ends

  • Jim Montgomery didn’t have any regrets about slotting Patrice Bergeron again into the lineup forward of Sport 5. Bergeron, enjoying with a herniated disc in his again, recorded one level in Video games 5-7 whereas getting knocked for a minus-6 ranking.

“After Sport 3, I known as Patrice,” Montgomery stated. “We have been in Florida, and I used to be speaking to him, and I stated, ‘I do know you’re doing higher, I’ve seen the video of your rehab skates.

“If we win Sport 4, is it prudent to us to provide you extra time?’ And he goes, ‘What do you imply?’ I am going, ‘Will we not play you Sport 5?’ And he stated, ‘Monty, I’m enjoying Sport 5.’ That was sufficient for me to know. You don’t hold Corridor of Fame gamers out of the lineup.”

  • Regardless of some bumps and bruises, Sweeney stated that the Bruins don’t count on to have any gamers bear main offseason surgical procedures. It’s a far cry from final summer season, when Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk, and Mike Reilly all went underneath the knife.
  • The Bruins are nonetheless within the means of reviewing potential modifications to their employees forward of the 2023-24 season. “We’re going again by means of that stuff proper now,” Sweeney stated. “We don’t have something impending, however I reserve the precise that we’re going to need to proceed to unpack what’s finest for our group and what Jim feels would assist proceed to maneuver this group going ahead and we’ll make higher selections.”

Originally posted 2023-05-09 22:23:39.