BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Bruins are looking ahead to the new season rather than looking back at the season when they posted the best record in NHL history but lost in the first round of the playoffs.
“My rearview mirror is broken,” team president Cam Neely said at the opening of training camp for the 2023 Presidents Trophy winners. “Of course you can learn from the past and learn something from it. But the page has been turned and a new season is coming.”
One year after setting NHL records with 65 wins and 135 points, the Bruins believe they are ready to compete for the Stanley Cup.They had to do it all without captain and six-time Selke Trophy winner Patrice Bergeron, who retired along with scoring threat David Cressey
“Outsides may think this is a void, given what other people and great players have done in the past,” general manager Don Sweeney said. “This is an evolution that every team goes through. We’re very Lucky to have players who are really excited about this opportunity.”
Brad Marchand takes over from Bergeron as captain and returns to an offense that also includes Hart Trophy runner-up David Pastrnak. Charlie McAvoy anchors the blue line, adding veteran Kevin Shattenkirk to the six returning defensemen.
In goal, Vezina Trophy winner Linus Ullmark returns after winning 40 games last season with 1.89 goals against; Jeremy Swayman is 24-6-4 with a 2.24 GAA, He returned again as a substitute.
“Expectations don’t change,” Sweeney said. “Last year we didn’t expect to win 65 games, and I didn’t expect to win 65 games this year. But, I do expect us to be a competitive team from day one and take the approach every night. A hard-fighting attitude, wearing that jersey with pride. That’s what this organization is trying to stand for.”
Bergeron had previously considered retiring, but a year ago he decided to return to racing one last time. Krejic, who plays in his native Czech Republic during the 2021-22 season, also signed a one-year contract extension.
With Jim Montgomery taking over from Bruce Cassidy as head coach, the team responded with a record-breaking record, surpassing the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings and 2018-19 Tampa The Bay Lightning’s record of 62 wins. The record of 132 points had stood since the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens, but a rule change made it more attainable.
None of this did Boston any favors when they faced the Florida Panthers in the first round of the playoffs.
The Bruins took a 3-1 lead before Florida forced a decisive Game 7 and Boston took a 3-2 lead on Brandon Montour’s tying goal with 1 minute left in regulation. Even score. Carter Verhaeghe scored midway through the first overtime to beat the stunned Bruins.
Sweeney calls it “scar tissue.”
“It’s in every one of us. We accept disappointment and move on,” he said. “We’ve fallen behind, and last year was a great example of that. … Keep your eyes forward, everyone has a job to do, and with that comes expectations.”
Good news for the Bruins: The record-setting Red Wings and Lightning also failed to cap off their unprecedented seasons, and Tampa Bay fell to Boston in the first round of the 2019 playoffs. But over the next two seasons, both men won back-to-back Stanley Cups.
Marchand didn’t look back or forward.
“I really don’t get caught up in thinking about the future. Last year was a perfect example,” he said. “You can’t get caught up in what’s happening in front of you, you have to live in the moment.
“I’m so grateful for this moment and every day that comes,” he said. “There’s so much to do in the interim – like right now – I can’t even think about what’s ahead.”