By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — In the moments after their disappointing 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, many Bruins players struggled to put their emotions into words. They didn’t have to; their faces said it all.
The agony of defeat was evident with everyone in the Boston locker room late Wednesday night, as most players fought back tears. Some let the waterworks flow as they spoke with reporters.
The raw emotion was all over the place. They were stunned. They were angry. They were all disappointed that the Blues came into their building and were the ones to raise Lord Stanley’s cup in triumph.
“It’s an empty feeling,” said head coach Bruce Cassidy. “It’s a long year. Someone had to win and someone had to lose and we came out on the wrong side of it. It’s not the way you picture it. It’s as simple as that.”
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Patrice Bergeron. “That’s it.”
“It’s hard to describe the disappointment,” said captain Zdeno Chara, visibly exhausted and still sounding very different after reportedly playing the last three games with a broken jaw. “Yeah. It’s hard to find words right now.”
Forward Brad Marchand, who made a costly mistake on a first-period line change that led directly to St. Louis’ second goal, said this was by far the most painful loss of his career.
“It’s tough to describe. You know, they just took our dream, our lifetime dream from us, and everything we’ve worked for our entire lives, and it’s 60 minutes away from that. You can’t describe it,” he said, eventually letting the tears flow.
A handful of Bruins, including Bergeron, Chara and Marchand, have felt both sides of the Stanley Cup now. They experienced the glory in 2011, but now 2019 joins 2013 as disappointing ends to otherwise exciting campaigns. Asked about the similarities between his two Cup losses, Bergeron said they’re both pretty close on the heartbreak scale.
“There are guys that this could have been our last shot. This stings even more,” he said.
Bergeron delivered a rousing pre-game speech that helped inspire the Bruins for their Game 6 win in St. Louis three nights ago. But there was no speech by anyone after Wednesday’s loss.
“I don’t think anything is going to make us feel better right now,” said netminder Tuukka Rask, who was outstanding throughout Boston’s playoff run. “No words needed. Go a few days and try to get some clarity, make yourself feel better.”
Few were as downcast as Charlie McAvoy, Boston’s third-year defenseman. Wednesday’s outcome hit him like a ton of bricks, and it showed as he tried to talk with reporters after.
“It sunk in right away. One side is elation and the other side is just … nothing,” he said. “We made it all this way to come up with nothing. I’m at a loss for words right now.”
Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk made his return Wednesday night after missing the previous four games with a concussion. He broke down in tears, feeling guilty that he missed so much time in the series.
“Probably the worst thing as a player is to sit and watch and not battle with the guys. I have a lot going through my head right now. It’s really tough,” said the 25-year-old Charlestown native who scored Boston’s only goal Wednesday night. “I’m kind of in shock right now, so, you obviously have some regrets in the game. It’s a lot to take in right now, but there’s a lot to be proud of this year.”
While despondency was the main theme Wednesday night, the Bruins still showed a lot of pride in each other in their defeat. They were a tight group all year long, and that will not be forgotten.
“I thought we came together not just this year but the past few years as a team that really blended as one and played for each other, played together. We battled together, shared some ups and downs. We just came up short,” said Chara.
“There was no quit all year and we battled,” said Bergeron. “Right now, whatever we say doesn’t matter. It is what it is. I’m proud of the guys and the way that we competed.”
“Every year you hope you build something special. We made a great run, just one game short,” said Rask.
“We were a great group. We all love each other, lean on each other a lot here. So we’ll get through this thing,” said McAvoy.
There was no finger-pointing after the loss, and the Bruins are the kind of group that can bounce back and get stronger from this defeat. But it is certainly going to take a while to get over the sting of having a Stanley Cup right there for the taking, and letting it slip away.
“You lose as a team, you win as a team,” said Rask. “It sucks for all of us. That’s all there is.”