For the third straight year, the Bruins have disappointed their fans and their city. What became an entire season of letdowns from a team that should have been atop the Eastern Conference ended the same way.
There was hope.
There was a first-round victory lap around the league’s best goalie, Ryan Miller, and the Buffalo Sabres.
Then came the excitement.
Could this team really advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in 18 years?
It sure looked that way after the B's took a 3-0 series lead over the Broad Street Bullies. But then came the historic four-game losing skid to end the season in a heap of hurt. This disappointing defeat was the biggest blow of the past three seasons — and for that matter, the past few decades of Bruins hockey. Ending the season in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals stings, but when you’ve got a commanding lead in the series, plus a 3-0 lead in Game 7 on home ice, it hurts even more.
Not to mention the fact that the feat that the Philadelphia Flyers accomplished had only been done three times before in all of professional sports.
In the days since Friday night’s loss to the Flyers, the Bruins have been searching to find answers, but there just aren’t any. Who, if anyone, gets fired? Who will be held responsible? Who will return to wear black and gold in September? These are all questions that the front office now needs to address — prematurely, because no one saw that series against Philly ending as it did.
"The variance between the ups and downs was too much," said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli. "We will look to make some changes. We'll go through the normal process of meeting with our pro scouts. We'll meet with [head coach] Claude [Julien] and his staff. We'll be talking about the makeup of the team, personnel, style."
In a nutshell, the Bruins' management won’t be hitting the links anytime soon to enjoy time off. They’ll be far too busy trying to piece together a new team, with some of the components they already have, and some that will be available come July 1.
There are four teams still playing in the NHL right now and the Bruins should be one of them. The fact that they’re not means major changes are on the horizon to ensure a more consistent product on the ice next season.
Bruins vice president Cam Neely tried to find words to describe the team’s heartache.
"Oh, it hit hard," said the legendary Bruins winger. "It hit hard on Friday night. It’s been a very tough few days, as you can imagine. Obviously, losing in the finals is a big deal, but this is really big, too."
Sure, the Bruins were one of one of five teams that advanced to the second round in the last two years, but the goal of this team is to win the Stanley Cup, and that objective has not yet been met.
The 2009-10 season is over. Behind closed doors, there will be renovations and work done to the interior makeup of this Bruins team. The hope is that when the puck drops this fall, the product on the ice is better than ever before. With the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, there is plenty to get excited about for this organization, but it’s going to take a lot of offseason moving and shaking to ensure that the monumental defeat and letdown won't happen ever again.