Some of the Bruins players are certainly not entirely over the shock of getting eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning a couple of days ago.
Understandably so, of course, and others are still just trying to get reacclimated at home after living in an isolated bubble playing in empty arenas for the last five weeks in Toronto away from their family, friends and home life due to COVID-19.
All the Bruins said they were prepared to stay there for the duration if they had been able to push all the way to the conference finals and Stanley Cup Final, but admitted it was “a little weird” being back home in Boston after their summer hockey trip.
Brad Marchand was feeding his kids ice cream while holding an end-of-season zoom session with the Bruins media, and said he’s still not feeling completely comfortable back in his home routine after more than a month away.
“It’s still a little weird being here. I mean I drove by the Garden for the first time today and it's weird being back in reality. I mean we were only gone for six weeks or whatever it was, but it's a big change when you're stuck in a hotel and you don't have many things to do and now we're back in society,” said Marchand.
“Driving around and stuff, it's just odd, but it's a different feeling because typically this time of year we're not playing and we’re preparing for training camp.
“So to just to be finishing up now and obviously with everything that's been going on in North America and I guess all over the world, it's just obviously we're all going through it, it's different times and things are odd. We're trying to get that normalcy back, but it's definitely a lot different being back than being in the bubble, no question. It's nice to be back to family and back to reality, and we’ll start preparing next year.”
Patrice Bergeron is an ultra-competitor and was obviously disappointed at the outcome being done after the second round, but he also had a wife and young kids to cushion the blow when he finally arrived home from Toronto on Tuesday.
“It was great. It was amazing, obviously. [It was] definitely not the outcome that we wanted. We were all committed and ready to stay for the two-and-a-half months. But when you look at the glass half full, the silver lining was to get to go home and see the kids,” said Bergeron.
“It’s one thing to FaceTime and you have technology at least to see them, but it’s a little different when you’re able to hug them and kiss them and be there for them. They were pretty happy and excited and I was as well. it was a great welcome home for sure.”
That was the interesting dichotomy with this bubble playoff hockey scenario. Once teams got down in a playoff series, it wasn’t the usual total downer with the knowledge that players would be able to go home and see their families.
It’s why only two playoff series have now been pushed to the distance – a five-game series in the qualifying round between Columbus and Toronto and a second-round series between Dallas and Colorado – and there really hasn’t been many series comebacks in the playoffs.
Even though the Bruins were sent home by the Lightning far before they wanted to go, they had smiles on their faces when they arrived at the airport with their families waiting for them after a long five weeks.