In case you missed it last night, the Tampa Bay Lightning officially eliminated the Boston Bruins from the Stanley Cup Playoffs after a thrilling double overtime victory in Game 5 of the teams' second round series.
Superstar defenseman Victor Hedman stuck the dagger in the Bruins' hearts with the double OT winner.
Check it out:
And with that, the Bruins' offseason begins.
It's sure to be an offseason full of change, as every offseason is. But this time around, there may be more systemic changes to the Bruins' lineup. What happens with pending free agent Torey Krug? Will goaltender Tuukka Rask return? How about 42 year old captain Zdeno Chara?
Chara admitted to reporters that he's considering retirement but that he hasn't made his decision just yet. He'll take the offseason to consider his future. “I haven’t made that decision. I obviously just finished the game and I’m going to be open minded, he said.
Chara is a pending free agent and has signed 1 year contracts with the Bruins for each of the past two seasons.
“I‘m obviously very proud of this group,” said Chara, who has been in the NHL since before some of his teammates were even born. “Everybody made some huge sacrifices and we were a committed group to get back to where we left off at some point in March. I think that everybody showed up in great shape, ready to play, committed to come into the hub city and do whatever it took to play the best hockey that we could."
If this is indeed the end for Chara, he'll go down in history as one of the greatest defensemen of his generation. Obviously he'll go down in history as the biggest player in NHL history, but he's so much more than that. He's a leader, he's a Norris Trophy winner, he's a Stanley Cup champion. He's a legitimate freak of nature when it comes to his workout regimen. He's truly one of the most unique players in NHL history and he's a first ballot Hall of Famer.
If this is indeed the end
“He’s an icon in Boston and it’s been – who knows what’s going to happen but it’s a pleasure to go to the rink with him every day and see the dedication he has to the game and has had to the game for so long,” said longtime teammate Brad Marchand. “It’s difficult to do what he’s done, day in and day out. The way he prepares and the way he still cares so much."
“He’s one of the most, if not the most driven person I’ve ever met. And he’s going to be a Hall of Famer. He’s one of the best defensemen, best players to ever play the game. Like I said, it’s been a real honor to play with him. We have no idea what’s going to happen but he’s an incredible teammate and captain and leader and I don’t have enough good things to say about him.”
If this is indeed the end for Big Z, what a career. Take a bow, big man.