Takeaways from Bruins' breakup day; Looking ahead to offseason
The Bruins held their “breakup day” media availability with players Tuesday afternoon at Warrior Ice Arena. Coach Jim Montgomery, general manager Don Sweeney, president Cam Neely and CEO Charlie Jacobs are expected to meet with the media next week. Here are some of the biggest takeaways from Tuesday:
-- David Krejci met with reporters for the first time since the season ended Sunday night after not being made available after Game 7. He said he will go home and talk to his family about his future, but that he wants to make a decision “soon.” He said the only two options he’s considering are another year with the Bruins or retirement. He won’t play for another NHL team and doesn’t plan to play in Czechia again like he did in 2021-22.
Krejci didn’t want to reveal what injury he was dealing with that forced him to miss three playoff games and the final six regular-season games.
“Obviously I wish I was 100 percent for all seven games, but unfortunately that wasn’t the [case],” he said. “I’m happy I came back for Game 6 and Game 7.”
-- Like Krejci, Patrice Bergeron said the only two options he’s considering are a return to the Bruins or retirement, so you can stick a fork in another round of those silly Bergeron-to-Montreal rumors. He said he hasn’t put any timeline on his decision yet, but did note that last year he wanted to give Sweeney an answer by the start of free agency, which is July 1.
“It’s early right now to kind of even make a sound decision,” Bergeron said. “I really want to make sure I make the right call, and that we make the right call as a family. I don’t know how long it’s gonna take.”
Bergeron and Krejci both said their decisions wouldn’t necessarily be dependent on what the other does. Bergeron also said he didn’t know if he would have retired and gone out on top had the Bruins won the Cup.
“I didn’t know. I still didn’t know. … I wasn’t really thinking about that,” he said.
Asked what kind of impact he thinks he’s left on the Bruins franchise if this is it, Bergeron said, “I’m not sure. I guess if it is, I left everything out there is all I can really say. I’m thankful and I’m grateful. But we’re not there yet, so we’ll see.”
Bergeron, by the way, was named a Selke Trophy finalist on Tuesday for a record 12th straight year. The other finalists are New Jersey’s Nico Hischier and Toronto’s Mitch Marner.
-- Linus Ullmark chose not to reveal the injury he was dealing with in the playoffs. ESPN’s Kevin Weekes had reported on Monday that it was something “debilitating and painful.”
“Yeah, it was hurting, but some things you can play through without it making you play worse,” Ullmark said in response to that report.
He said he never felt like he couldn’t play through it.
“I had full confidence in my abilities every single game that I played. That’s the honest truth, otherwise I would have stepped aside. This is a team game, we win together and we lose together.”
Asked about being benched for Game 7 after starting the first six games of the series, Ullmark said he just tried to support Jeremy Swayman as much as possible.
“I fully respected the decision to have Sway play that one,” he said. “…All the things I did throughout that day was to fully support Sway to the best of my capabilities.”
Swayman, for his part, said he felt that support, just as he had all season from Ullmark.
“That’s just the kind of person he is,” Swayman said. “We support each other through everything, through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. When you have someone there for you, you’ll never forget those kinds of things. So yeah, he’s been there. I absolutely love that guy, so it’s a special thing we have.”
-- David Pastrnak, whose availability took place while a fire alarm was going off (seriously), revealed that he suffered a shoulder injury on the first shift of Game 1, but said it got better as the series went on and that he believes it would have been 100% for the second round.
Pastrnak summed up the first-round exit as well and as bluntly as anyone, saying, “It f***ing sucks.”
He said he is always optimistic for the start of any new season and that his process for turning the page to next year will begin soon.
“I think for every single athlete, it starts, honestly, pretty quick,” he said. “It’s very hard to dig in on something that happened in the past. You automatically want to prepare right away, so it’s gonna start pretty soon. For me, I haven’t made any plans. I’m gonna be in Boston, so I just want to turn the page and get ready.”
-- Tyler Bertuzzi, who is one of eight unrestricted free agents on the roster, said he hasn’t had any contract discussions with the Bruins yet, but that he could definitely see himself and his family settling in Boston long-term if the two sides are able to work something out.
“Yeah, we loved it. Honestly, we had such a blast,” he said. “We were in the North End, ate pasta every day, went for walks. We had a lot of fun and we enjoyed it here. So yeah, we could definitely see it.”
-- It was a similar sentiment from the Bruins’ other unrestricted free agents as well.
Nick Foligno: “It’s no secret I love it here. I’ve bonded with these guys and we’ve gone through a lot. I felt like I’ve given what I can to this group, and I hope to come back and finish what we started. That’s my biggest thing. I can’t control what Sweens and Cam and the staff decide, but I think the feeling’s mutual. We’ll try to figure out something. We’ll see how that goes, but obviously I’d prefer to come back, especially with the way things ended and what I foresee for this group.”
Foligno said he has no plans to retire. If things don’t work out with the Bruins, he’ll look at opportunities elsewhere.
Tomas Nosek: “I want to stay here. That’s my number one priority. We love Boston. My family loves Boston. If there’s a chance I sign here, I want to stay here. That’s not up to me right now. We’ll see what’s going to happen.”
Garnet Hathaway: “Awesome. Unbelievable. On the ice, off the ice, it felt like I had been in this room a lot longer than I had. … There are conversations to be had. I still have my meetings to go through. Conversations with agents, family. There’s gonna be so much time and thought that goes into the decision, whichever way that it goes. There just hasn’t been the time yet.”
Dmitry Orlov: “It was great from the start, right away. I wouldn’t say Washington was bad, but just different. I just enjoy hockey, and it’s important. … It was nice to me to have that feeling back, and I really enjoyed this time.”
Connor Clifton: “I love it here. Me and Sweens had a good talk this morning in our meeting, so we’ll see what happens in the next couple weeks.”
Clifton was a healthy scratch for four games in the first round, and struggled when he got back in the lineup in Game 6 with a pair of turnovers that led to Florida goals. He expressed a lot of regret over how that game went.
“Obviously I wish I had done a lot better of a job, especially having fresh legs because I got to rest Games 3-5,” he said. “Looking back on it now, I wish obviously it went differently. I wish I could come in with those fresh legs and impact the game in a good way and get that win and close out that series, but that’s not how sports work all the time. So I’m pretty disappointed in how that game went for me personally, but I guess you move forward.”
As we outlined earlier Tuesday, the Bruins are not going to be able to keep everyone: