In one of the most shocking nights in NHL history when it comes to on-ice action, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Colorado Avalanche and Presidents’ Trophy Winning Boston Bruins were both eliminated in Game 7. The news is sending shockwaves around the league.
The Avs going down in seven was surprising, but considering the injuries the team was facing and the more level playing field between the Seattle Kraken and the Avalanche, the result of that series doesn’t hold a candle to the stunning results between the Florida Panthers and Bruins where the winningest team in NHL history is now out. Two teams that could have been viewed differently coming into the series, the Panthers pulled off one of the greatest upsets in NHL history and the Bruins will have some important decisions to make.
Questions will immediately surround Patrice Bergeron and whether he’ll be back.
After the game, the veteran forward talked about having a herniated disk in his back. He then said he would take time to talk to his family and make a decision. Many believe this was it. The emotion as he went off the ice and the way he waived to fans after the game, Elliotte Friedman noted that it’s hard not to see similarities between the way Zdeno Chara and Bergeron ended things in Boston.
If this is it for Bergeron, he will be an immediate Hall of Famer. Over his career he:
- Won a Stanley Cup
- Was a 2x Olympic gold medalist
- became a 5x Selke Trophy winner
- was a 3x All-Star
- Was third all-time in Bruins’ franchise in goals and points
Mike Johnson said on Sirius XM Radio that his gut suggests this was probably Bergeron’s goodbye. While it’s not unusual for him to hug and embrace each player as they exit the ice after a game, the way Bergeron and Brad Marchand openly cried and the delay by Marchand when he was asked about his teammate, it was as if both knew this season was the last time Bergeron was going to try and win.
“Given that he considered retirement last year but came back to give it one more run, and the fact that it ended once again with injury and a very serious one, and with him and Marchand both literally in tears,… everything in your gut suggested that that was going to be his last game.” Johnson adds, “At some point, you gotta stop.”
What Happens With the Rest of the Team?
If Bergeron says goodbye, what happens with the rest of the roster? Who wants to come back if Bergeron, and perhaps David Krejci, are not part of the group? A handful of players are still locked into their deals, but, as Kristen Shilton of ESPN.com points out, there are a lot of free agents that the Bruins acquired this season that may or may not return.
Boston has to decide on its trade deadline additions too. Tyler Bertuzzi, Garnet Hathaway, and Dmitry Orlov need new contracts; which, if any, will stick around long term? Goaltender Jeremy Swayman is an upcoming restricted free agent; how can the Bruins negotiate a new deal with him as well? GM Don Sweeney will be busy figuring that all out.
Next: Surprise; Maple Leafs Meet Panthers Not Bruins: Easier or Not?
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