The Boston Bruins’ loss to the St. Louis Blues in Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final still haunts Cam Neely.
In fact, according to the Bruins president, it’s the “most painful loss” of his NHL career, which is saying something given the defeats he’s suffered as both a player and front office executive.
“I think I’m finally coming to peace with it in the last week or so,” Neely told NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty on Thursday. “I’m getting out of a little bit of this depressed fog that I’ve been in. It’s by far the hardest and most painful loss in my career. To get that close, I just feel terrible for the players and all of the staff for putting everything in and getting as far as we did, and then coming up one game short.”
Neely played 10 seasons with the Bruins (1986-96), suffering Stanley Cup Final defeats to the Edmonton Oilers in 1988 and 1990. He finally hoisted Lord Stanley in 2011 as the Bruins’ team president, but he also watched as Boston lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2013 Cup Final.
None of those — nor the B’s infamously blowing a 3-0 series lead (and a 3-0 Game 7 lead) against the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010 — stings Neely as much as Boston’s Game 7 loss to St. Louis, though, especially since everything unraveled on the Bruins’ home ice at TD Garden.
“This is nothing against St. Louis because they obviously had a great year, but I thought all series long that we were going to win,” Neely told Haggerty. “Especially going into St. Louis and winning Game 6, I thought we were going to win Game 7.”
Fortunately for the Bruins, they’ll return almost the same roster in 2019-20, giving them a chance to wash the bad taste out of their mouths in short order.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images