BOSTON - The Bruins gathered at Warrior Ice Arena on Tuesday afternoon to speak with reporters during the final media availability of the 2016-17 season.
It is always an odd feeling, to walk into the locker room and see the players' packed-up hockey bags sitting in front of their stalls waiting for them. Goals feel unaccomplished. The season doesn't quite feel like it's over yet.
"You never want this day to come," said Patrice Bergeron. "You know, unless it's positive, like after 2011. So it's always tough."
"At the same time, it's one of those years where we fought and we showed a lot of character, and you have to be happy with that. At the same time, you're never satisfied, and you wish for better results."
"It's been three years now that we've been really battling to get into the playoffs, and this year we came through, and it definitely gives us a lot of confidence looking forward as well," said Bergeron.
The Bruins ran into injury trouble at the end of the regular season and into their first round series with the Ottawa Senators.
On the day of the team's final media availability of the season, information is typically disclosed about injuries.
When Bergeron was asked about his injury earlier in the season, he disclosed that he played all season while battling a sports hernia.
"We're going to go through physicals today, but I've been dealing with a sports hernia all year," said Bergeron. "With the schedule, it was definitely something that was nagging and it was there for most of the year, but having the breaks in the second half definitely helped a lot to make it feel a little better."
The hernia might require surgery in the offseason.
"It might, yeah. It's something we have to talk about and do the pros and cons," said Bergeron. "Definitely don't want to go through that again next year, so that might be the option."
Video: Patrice Bergeron speaks to media on break-up day
Krejci, Krug, Carlo, McQuaid Discuss Injuries
David Krejci missed the first two games of the postseason with an upper-body injury, and then suffered a lower-body injury. Overall, he missed three of the six games, including the decisive Game 6.
The lower-body injury came after a knee-on-knee hit from Chris Wideman in Game 5.
"Obviously I hurt my knee in that situation," said Krejci. "The good thing is that it's the same knee that I injured two years ago, so the recovery will be much faster. We were working to come back some time in the second round, but obviously that's not the case anymore."
"But, I'm feeling better and I feel like if we had made it through the first round, then I would [have started] skating the next few days."
"It was frustrating," said Krejci. "Especially playing all 82 games and then the upper-body injury, I had to miss the first couple of games and I just started feeling good and you get hurt again. So, that was obviously a playoff to forget for me and yeah, it is what it is. It was frustrating, disappointing."
The Bruins also had to finish the series without Torey Krug (knee), Brandon Carlo (concussion) and Adam McQuaid (neck). Krug and Carlo were never able to play a postseason game. McQuaid was sidelined after sustaining his neck injury in Game 2.
"I feel pretty good now. I feel all right," Krug said of his knee injury, which occurred in Game 81 of the regular season.
"I was really close. I don't know if the doctors would have let me, but I was close - if not Game 7, then I would have started Round 2 and it was close," said Krug. "I was working pretty hard to give myself a chance to come back and play and help the team."
The Bruins suffered another blow to the blueline with Carlo suffered a concussion in Game 82.
"I was diagnosed with a concussion and just going through the protocol of that," Carlo disclosed. "I was trying to be safe with that. You know, there's a point where you kind of have to worry about the next 20 years rather than this year."
This postseason would have marked Carlo's first Stanley Cup Playoffs appearance.
"It was really disappointing. I really wanted to be out there, and it was hard to watch," said Carlo. "But at the same time, I feel like the guys handled it really well, and the guys who came up and, you know, filled those positions did a good job."
Though Colin Miller was able to return from his injury suffered in Game 1 of the playoffs, McQuaid was not able to return from his neck injury suffered in Game 2.
"We worked really hard to get ourselves into a position to get into the playoffs and that's why you play all season, to give yourself a chance to play in the playoffs, and having not been there the last couple of years, and then not to play was pretty disappointing and pretty painful to sit and watch," said McQuaid. "I'm really proud of the guys. We battled hard and overcame adversity at times."
Video: Krug addresses his recovery from a knee injury
Unrestricted, Restricted Free Agents Talk Potential Returns
The Bruins have a number of restricted and unrestricted free agents heading into the 2017 offseason.
The restricted free agents include David Pastrnak, Noel Acciari, Tim Schaller, Ryan Spooner, and Joe Morrow.
The unrestricted free agents include Dominic Moore, Drew Stafford, and John-Michael Liles.
All of the above players spoke about their situations heading into the summer. Stay tuned to BostonBruins.com in the coming days for more coverage and stories from the final media availability of the 2016-17 season.