By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The mere sight of Jake DeBrusk in the Bruins' locker room after Game 7 told a devastating story.
As most of the Bruins had already undressed or hit the showers, DeBrusk sat at his locker, still in full uniform with his skates on and his face buried in his hands. When he finally got up, his face was as red and raw as many of his tearful teammates after the Bruins lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final to the Blues. And those tears are actually a good thing.
Crying isn't always a sign of weakness in a person. Oftentimes it shows how much you care, and how little you care about others criticizing you for it. Suppressing real emotion for the sake of hiding "weakness" in a time of grief is some macho B.S., if you ask me.
The Bruins, especially young core guys like DeBrusk and Charlie McAvoy, showed how much they cared about winning the Stanley Cup after coming up short in Game 7 on Wednesday.
A despondent McAvoy could barely speak when he faced reporters after the Bruins' 4-1 loss, in which they gave up two goals on four shots in the first period and didn't score until the 17:50 mark of regulation. This loss hurts badly. Will for a long time. But as an observer of a tough, competitive team like the Bruins, you want it to hurt for them. You want them to hate losing.
"One side is elation, the other side is just nothing," McAvoy said. "We made it all this way, I don’t know, I’m at a loss for words."
McAvoy and DeBrusk's shattered reactions after Game 7 is what you want to see in a team competing for the ultimate prize in sports. And it's a good sign that they'll want to avoid those feelings in future Cup runs.
That's assuming Bruins GM Don Sweeney commits to players like McAvoy, DeBrusk, Brandon Carlo, etc. as pieces to build around while the veteran core hits the back-nine. But let's say he does find a way to keep them all around long-term. He at least knows he has a young group that cares about each other so much that they'd be virtually inconsolable after failing to hoist the Stanley Cup.
"We all love each other and we’re going to lean on each other to get through this," McAvoy said. "It’s tough, we had all the makings of a special group and we felt so special in here. It was really special to be a part of something like this and then to not win, I feel really incomplete."
The Bruins' best young players - and probably their future - showed a lot of deep desire to win along with their talent over the course of the playoffs. That desire mirrored the despair after losing. But it's good to know that the Bruins will be in the hands of a growing core that cares this much.
Maybe it helps them complete themselves next time they get to this stage.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].