But in the immediate aftermath of Wednesday's 2-1 overtime loss to Washington in Game 7 of their opening-round series, there was only shock.
"I mean it's such a weird feeling," Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. "I mean you play hard, it's a tight game and suddenly a bounce goes against you and suddenly the season is over. For the first few minutes, and even right now, you're wondering what time practice is tomorrow, but there is no practice. I mean, it's going to be a long summer and we have to get ready for next year again."
The end was stunning in its quickness, both in terms of the sudden change of fortune — as Patrice Bergeron missed an open net that could have sent Boston on to the next round just seconds before Joel Ward buried his rebound chance past Tim Thomas – and in terms of the Bruins being eliminated this early in the postseason.
"It's one of those things where we missed that open net, maybe a couple of seconds earlier then all of a sudden it's in the back of our net," Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk said. "It could go either way, we saw it last year. We got the bounces and went all the way and won and tonight they got the bounce in the end and now they're moving on.
"Yeah, it is [shocking]," Boychuk added. "Because we we're used to going, you know, all the way. And to be done now it's like, it's kind of hard to even understand. It's like you can't even believe it's over right now."
The Bruins had become accustomed to coming out on top of these Game 7 nail-biters after going the distance three times in last year's Cup run, including an overtime victory of their own in the opening round against Montreal. After staving off elimination in overtime in Game 6 in Washington, there was an expectation that the Bruins would find a way to pull this one out as well.
"Well, it's hard to swallow, tough to understand right now," Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said. "I think obviously it's going to take us a couple of days to sink that one in, we obviously weren't ready for being done right now."
Done after the opening round of the playoffs for the first time since another Game 7 loss to Montreal back in 2008. Boston's heartbreak didn?t come until Games 7s in the second round against Carolina and Philadelphia in 2009 and 2010, respectively, and never came at all last year when the club ended its 39-year Cup drought.
Packing up the skates with the calendar still reading April is an unsettling development after three straight seasons of deeper runs.
"Yeah, especially standing here after a first-round loss," Bruins forward Milan Lucic said. "It's been almost five years since we lost in the first round. We fought hard. We tried to do whatever we can to give ourselves a chance to win. I mean, you look at last year's team ?- we got bounces, everyone was able to stay healthy and this year, unfortunately we were missing some guys that played big parts in us moving forward in what we accomplished last year. So, not much else to say, just got to think about it and try to let it go and get ready for next year, I guess."
Plenty will be said in the coming days, weeks and months, but there wasn't much else to say on Wednesday night. Words aren't easy to come up with when you're still struggling to come to grips with what just happened.