BOSTON - There are still times when it all comes flooding back.
It could be a song on the radio, a clip on the television, or just a normal conversation that triggers the memories from that Wednesday night in June. They are recollections that aren't likely to completely fade away anytime soon - if ever.
But for the time being, the Bruins know they must put their crushing Stanley Cup Final loss to the side. As the calendar flips toward the 2019-20 season, they must move forward.
"I'm not over it. I don't think I ever will be," said David Krejci, who spent most of the summer at his offseason home in Charleston, South Carolina. "You come across things that are attached to the Stanley Cup Final and it brings up all those memories. It happens all the time. I'm sure it will keep happening.
"It's just something that you have to learn to live with it. The only way out of it is to have a good season and make a push in the playoffs."
A new chapter began in earnest on Wednesday afternoon with over 30 players hitting the ice at Warrior Ice Arena for an informal captains' practice, which featured the likes of Krejci, Zdeno Chara, David Backes, Tuukka Rask, Sean Kuraly, Chris Wagner, and Joakim Nordstrom.
"I don't think we're over it. I don't think I'm over it. But we move on," said Kuraly. "We've got hockey to play. Playing hockey will help. It will be something fun you get to enjoy and try to win some games and feel good about that and get right back there, realize that's our goal.
"You realize how much you want it after how close you get and almost get that taste…it makes you pretty hungry to get back."
Video: Krejci speaks to media following captains' practice
As Kuraly put it, a short summer is ultimately a good summer in the National Hockey League. And while the ending was not what anyone associated with the Black & Gold envisioned, the Bruins know there are plenty of lessons to be learned - both positive and negative - from their magical run last spring.
"Three periods away, so we obviously did a lot of good things to get there," said Wagner, who called the playoffs the most exciting time of his life. "And with a lot of the guys coming back, it's still in the minds a bit. It's probably going to light a fire under a lot of guys, too. It is tough to think about it, but you kind of want to take it as a learning lesson to move on."
Tough to think about indeed, but perhaps necessary - at least for the time being as the Bruins assess the best way to move forward during training camp.
"I'm sure we'll talk about it internally," said Wagner. "Kind of more about moving on than learning that lesson. If you take it into this year, you're going to think about it and you're going to get sad and mad and all that, and you can't let it affect the games coming up because that's over. We have business to take care of. I would say it's definitely a balance."
Video: Kuraly chats with the media at captains practice
Wagner put any concerns about his health to bed quite quickly - and humorously - saying, "Well, I had a hat trick today in the scrimmage, so you tell me."
Translation: sounds like he's just fine.
The Walpole native exited Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final in Carolina after blocking a slap shot with his right forearm. Wagner missed the remainder of the postseason, though he was cleared to return ahead of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Chara skated on Wednesday without the full shield he donned after suffering a broken jaw in Game 4 of the Final. Nordstrom, whose left foot was in a boot for most of the summer after blocking a shot against St. Louis, also skated in full.
Video: Wagner speaks following Bruins captains' practice
Kuraly, when asked about the ongoing negotiations between the team and restricted free agent defensemen Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy, said he is hoping for a swift resolution with training camp just over a week away.
"I'd love to see them out there," said Kuraly. "They're great players, great teammates, great players, great friends. I hope it's done as soon as both sides come to a good agreement. It's really all I have to say about that. I hope they get back ASAP because they're great players and I love having them back there."
Training camp is still a week away, but there were enough players - 31 to be exact - to ice two teams for a scrimmage during the second half of Wednesday's workout at Warrior Ice Arena.
"Boston is a pretty nice place to come early to, in my opinion at least," said Wagner. "Guys have been here for a couple weeks now, so I think it speaks to the camaraderie of this team. Everybody wants to be back and see each other.
"There is more of a buzz when more and more guys show up too. It's fun for us to see each other and talk about the summer and what not and obviously get on the ice too."
Among those in attendance on Wednesday:
Adam McQuaid (UFA)