A Boston columnist dared: The Bruins’ surprise elimination on Sunday night was the biggest disappointment in the history of this team.

Older generations will remind him that the Bruins were just over two minutes away from ending the Canadiens’ reign in the Stanley Cup semi-finals in 1979, before receiving a fatal penalty for having an extra player. on the ice, but we understand the current commotion in Boston.

Everything was in place for a scenario worthy of Walt Disney. To everyone’s surprise, the Bruins, with their record of 65-12-5, not only had just had the best season of their existence, but never had an NHL team been superior in the regular season.

Captain Patrice Bergeron was perhaps on his last lap, after a career crowned with glory, and whose entry into the Hockey Hall of Fame is assured.

They also faced in the first round a team, the Florida Panthers, excluded from the playoffs for most of the winter, and whose fans of the Canadian even dreamed of obtaining from them a choice in the top ten (in the Ben Chiarot transaction) by virtue of their position in the standings.

Under the circumstances, sacrificing first-round picks in 2023 and 2024 for rental players Dmitry Orlov and Tyler Bertuzzi was justified (Boston also gave up a fourth-round pick in 2025 for Bertuzzi and a second-round pick in 2025, third-round in 2024 and fifth round in 2023 for Orlov).

*Following their elimination on Sunday, the Bruins’ 2023 first-round pick traded for Orlov drops from 32nd to 28th overall. That choice now belongs to the Maple Leafs. They got it from the Capitals for Rasmus Sandin.

But we must relegate the results of the regular season to oblivion once the playoffs have started. Those same Florida Panthers were knocked out in the second round last year after a 122-point season.

Since 2015, only the New York Rangers have advanced to the second round after winning the President’s Trophy presented to the regular season champion. The Lightning were swept in four games by the Blue Jackets in the first round in 2019 after amassing 128 points, seven shy of the Bruins this season.

Boston led that series 3-1. The Bruins were nine minutes away from eliminating the Panthers in Game 6. They had the lead with a minute to go in third Sunday. Florida had even removed its goalkeeper in desperation.

The Bruins looked worn at times in recent games. We often have the reflex to predict the outcome of a series according to the formations on paper, as the infamous sports cliché says.

But players are made of blood, flesh and bone and those of the Bruins entered the playoffs worn out. Bergeron even missed the first four games. The Bruins’ end-of-season record may tell us how much his body was mortgaged.

Boston lost three consecutive games following his return to play and the Quebecer was limited to one point, one goal, in the fifth game. The team’s second center, David Krejci, missed three games, the 3rd, 4th and 5th.

“We weren’t ready for the intensity of the playoffs,” Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery admitted with brutal frankness.

The team’s immediate future is unclear. Patrice Bergeron gave a long hug to his accomplice Brad Marchand after the meeting, he greeted the crowd with his stick, but he did not want to comment on a possible retirement.

Marchand helped to further reinforce the retirement hypothesis for his old accomplice. “I had the privilege of playing with him for all these years. He’s an incredible individual, an incredible teammate and we’re lucky to have had him here for so long. He completely changed my approach to life, to sport. The decision is up to him. Whether he returns or not, we have built an unbreakable bond for life. »

Bergeron, 38 years old in July, had contemplated retirement for the first time last summer, before changing his mind after a few weeks of reflection. Krejci turned 37 in April. Their departure would leave a gaping hole in the center. The end-of-season acquisitions, Bertuzzi and Orlov, will also be entitled to full autonomy.

The Bruins will still have good elements in place with David Pastrnak, Charlie McAvoy, Hampus Lindholm, Marchand, Pavel Zacha, Jake DeBrusk and solid guards.

But their boss Don Sweeney will have to use his creativity again to regenerate the center position if his old wolves announce their retirement, with no choice in the first two rounds in 2023 and 2024 to serve as bait. Boston has always had the gift of surprising us…

*Even if the Panthers advance to the second round, the Canadiens’ 2023 first-round pick from Florida for Ben Chiarot still sits at 17th overall. He’ll stay there if the Maple Leafs eliminate the Panthers in the next round, but will drop to 29th if Florida ever beat Toronto.

The Columbus Blue Jackets reportedly wanted to keep winger Oliver Bjorkstrand. He had, after all, just had a career-best season with 57 points, including 28 goals.

But the payroll needed to be freed up last summer with the hiring of Johnny Gaudreau on the free agent market and with an annual salary of 5.4 million for another four seasons, he became the lamb to sacrifice.

Obviously with plenty of payroll wiggle room in just its second year, the Seattle Kraken got it for next to nothing: third- and fourth-round picks in 2023.

The 28-year-old Dane couldn’t have asked for a better time to shine. He scored Seattle’s two goals on Sunday and the Kraken took down the defending champion Colorado Avalanche.

Bjorkstrand is one of the elements that contributed to this thunderbolt, along with Yanni Gourde, Jaden Schwartz, Justin Schultz, Adam Larsson and goaltender Philipp Grubauer, a former Avalanche.

Seattle achieved the feat while scoring just 2.57 goals per game. Only the Islanders, Wild and Devils have done worse.

1- Justin Vézina switches from football to hockey and analyzes the fall of the Bruins in the seventh game.

2- Three years after leaving the University of Miami, diver Mia Vallée will participate in her first competition at home as part of the Montreal World Cup, from Friday to Sunday. In addition to having a degree in marine biology, she is a world vice-champion in the 3m and a gold medalist at the Commonwealth Games. “Team Mia” is ready to welcome him. Simon Drouin tells…

3- During the day, he is a primary school teacher. In the evening he plays football. And on Tuesday, he should be picked early in the Canadian League draft. Portrait of this University of Montreal Carabins linebacker by Guillaume Lefrançois.