“Everything is happening” was once frantically uttered by Liz Lemon, protagonist of the brilliant show 30 Rock, during one of those times in the show where, well, everything was happening to her all at once. But for the Boston Bruins, today was the day of everything happening at once. It was the day no hockey fan ever excitedly waits for, but one that inevitably must come: break-up day.
Today was a wealth of information, the answers to a lot of questions and the spark of a few fan heartbreaks too. There was one guy missing as well: Patrice Bergeron, who spent two nights under observation at a local hospital. Yes, two: he basically went to the hospital right after the loss. Along with the other known maladies he faced when playing Game 6, there was a very small puncture in his lung. This was inflicted after the game–he would not have been allowed to play with it. But he wasn’t there, although he has been released now.
Unfortunately, due to the lowering (unnecessarily, in my view) of the salary cap, the team has been forced to make some tough choices about who’s coming back next year. General manager Peter Chiarelli had to have hard talks with three players and let them know they won’t return: Jay Pandolfo, Jaromir Jagr and Andrew Ference.
All three of these have different impacts. Pandolfo’s a local boy, Jagr has been a laugh and a half and Ference is so intertwined with the local community despite hailing from Alberta. Jagr may look for some other NHL team to take him in, though he does have a fallback plan–the team he owns in the Czech league. As for Ference, I can’t say I’m terribly shocked that he’s leaving, but I can say he will be missed.
Injury reports were plentiful. Jagr hurt his back and hip in Game 6. Dennis Seidenberg had been playing with a pulled hamstring since the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Zdeno Chara had a potent hip flexor injury, so both parts of the team’s top defense pairing were at less than 100 percent. Nathan Horton needs surgery, although right now he’s the only one who needs work done. Chiarelli wants him back in Boston next season. As for Brad Marchand, the only injury he sustained was a broken heart after all was said and done.
Securing a new deal for Tuukka Rask is Chiarelli priority number one. Only time will tell what kind of deal he gets, especially with the constrained salary, but in an ideal world he would like to be a Bruin forever. That’s a great and positive sign. As for his backup, the pending unrestricted free agent Anton Khudobin, he’s been told that Rask comes first and he’ll be addressed afterward.
There are no current plans for the team to use either of their buyouts.
Looking ahead to Sunday’s one-day draft, the first one-day draft since 2006, it’ll be a while before Chiarelli takes the podium. The Bruins don’t take their first pick until selection number 60, barring some sort of last-minute swap.