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Bruins Trust Move, But It Still Stings

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

BOSTON - The Bruins dropped a 4-3 decision to Detroit in the shootout in their final preseason game on Saturday night. Patrice Bergeron scored a hat trick, forcing overtime.

But there was no talk of either topic postgame in the locker room.

The news that came around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday just a few hours before puck drop was still difficult for the Bruins to take.

After six seasons in Black & Gold, Johnny Boychuk was traded to the New York Islanders in exchange for assets - two second round draft picks and a conditional 2015 third round pick.

"It stings for everybody, and it stung for me too and the coaching staff and even we were quiet," Head Coach Claude Julien said postgame. "That doesn't mean we don't support - we obviously support our organization and understand why they had to make some of those tough decisions, but it doesn't mean the sting isn't there."

"I addressed the team before the game and explained to them that we still have a good group here and those things happen and everything else, and I just wanted to make sure that we were ready to play," he continued, later adding that he was impressed with the group's effort, despite the situation.

"It's just that - it just happened - it's like anything else, when you hear the news for the first time, it stings a little bit, but the guys are professional."

The team will have a few days to process the change, before opening the 2014-15 season on Wednesday against the Flyers.

But on Saturday night, they were letting it sink in, letting it sting, and then moving on from there.

"We spent a lot of time together, and obviously got to win a Cup together and share a lot of special times together, so I'm definitely going to miss him," said Milan Lucic. "He called me after it happened, and it was definitely an emotional phone call between the two of us, and all you can do now is just wish him all the best in his future."

"Well I think that we all really feel that Johnny is such a great teammate. Always loyal and always willing to do whatever is being asked for him," said Captain Zdeno Chara. "It’s never easy to see one of your teammates and good friends, to be traded."

"I’m sure that everybody tried their best to keep the team together, but on certain occasions, it's just not," Chara paused, and let out a deep sigh before continuing, "possible."

"You know, we have to move on. We wish him obviously all the best with his new team. He will always be very much missed and memories we have while he was playing here are always going to be with us."

The players were surprised, but also knew something like this might be coming.

"I mean, I was really surprised," said Adam McQuaid, visibly taking the news hard and trying to still grasp the situation. "Again, I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet. So I mean, I guess there was talk about one defenseman having to be moved and I think we all just kind of hoped that there was somehow that we could all stay a part of this group and again, I think it will take a little time to sink in."

"At this juncture, you're just bring to wrap your head around everything," McQuaid added. "It happened just as I was coming to the rink and I had to put it in the back of my mind to focus on the game and just kept trying not to think about it and trying not to think about it and I still haven’t had a chance to really reflect on it so I don’t really know what to say."

"You guys all know what Johnny’s personality is. He’s a great friend, a great teammate and a guy that’s just always in a good mood. He’s a guy that will put a smile on your face and at the same time, a guy that battled on the ice. You knew you were going to get everything from him and that’s what you want from a teammate. You respect that."

"It will be something that we'll all have to chip in and raise our game to fill that void."

Boychuk sent around a group text saying goodbye to everybody. That's how Dennis Seidenberg received the news.

"I think everybody knew that something was going to happen eventually; it was just a matter of time," said Seidenberg. "But, I didn’t expect it today - or [it to be] Johnny."

Given what he meant to the team, Boychuk's vibrant personality was a theme throughout the room.

"Well-liked, popular guy - not just for who he was off the ice. Everyone respected him for what he did on the ice just as much, you know?" said Lucic. "A warrior, a guy who played the way that he did and didn’t miss too many games because of his durability."

"I think he was a big part of this team, kind of helping solidify that defense corps that we were able to get to that next level, that championship level, and as a guy, as a teammate, just as an overall person and a professional, I think he’s deeply going to be missed."

Boychuk always keeps the mood light, as anyone who got the chance to be around him knows.

"He was a funny guy, like you know," smiled Seidenberg. "He was very vocal on and off the ice and everybody loved him."

"We lost our D.J. so that’s another tough part," he added with a laugh, before switching gears. "So, it hurts that he left."

"His presence was always such a gift for this team," Chara said, of the memories he'll hold of his time with Boychuk, and going all the way to the Cup in 2011. "Winning is always something that’s always on top of the list. For sure, those memories will always stay with all of us."

Without Boychuk in the mix, the defense corps will need to step up, and younger players starting to come into their own, like Torey Krug, will have to take on greater roles.

"For me, personally, he was a guy that took me under his wing when I first got here and made me feel really comfortable in this room," said Krug. "It’s the sad part about the business. Your friends go and it’s tough."

The same rhetoric was spread throughout the room, from stall to stall, as each player spoke: this isn't fun to deal with and a good friend will be missed - but it's a move that management felt they needed to make, with the improvement of the team in mind.

"That’s how the business goes in the salary cap era. You just have to try to move forward and pick up the slack he left," said Seidenberg.

"I mean, everybody understands that it had to be done because there was no room and that’s why it happened. For us, again, we have to move forward and focus on the regular season on Wednesday and that’s about it."

Moving on won't be easy, but it will be done.

"It is hard," Lucic stressed. "But you look at our management and their track record and what they’ve done over the last seven years and what they’ve done with the teams that they’ve put together - they’ve always done a great job so, as a player, I’ve never questioned any of the moves that they’ve made."

"Trading big names like even [Phil] Kessel and [Tyler] Seguin and we’re still able to be an elite team in the NHL, so we trust that the management believes in the guys that are in this room, and we have to believe in each other as well."

Big Zee conveyed the same message.

"I mean, it’s something that we have to turn the page on, focus on what’s coming up," Chara said. "You have to be willing to adjust to these kinds of situations and moves. Sometimes they come early in the season and sometimes they come right before the trade deadline. It’s just one of those things that you have to be able to take and then basically move on."

"It is what it is. Sometimes things like this happen and players can’t control them."

Bergeron may have scored a hat trick on the night, but there wasn't one question about that during his time speaking with media.

The preseason is coming to an end, those goals won't count, and the focus has to be on Wednesday night, no matter how difficult that may be.

"We have depth on defense and I think everybody knew that we had eight guys and that it was an option, something that might happen - and it was Johnny," said Bergeron. "We have plenty of confidence in all the guys that are here right now."

"That being said, he was definitely a big part of our defense. But, like I said, I feel confident with all the guys we have."

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