By Tim Rosenthal, Bruins Daily
Before he took a question from the media following the Bruins' 4-3 shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs after their New Year's Eve tilt, Milan Lucic opened his postgame locker room session with a statement.
"It wasn't a good 2014," the eighth year power forward said. "I'm happy it's over. I'm looking forward to 2015 and hopefully we can turn things around."
If that doesn't sum up the Bruins during the 2014 calendar year, then I don't know what does.
2014 began with so much promise -- even after the Tyler Seguin trade. The Bruins were well established atop the Eastern Conference and another run at the Stanley Cup was staring right at them.
Then the Black and Gold had a disappointing exit against the Montreal Canadiens. After Game 7, Lucic had less than civil words with Dale Weise and Alexei Emelin during the handshake line. Jarome Iginla, Shawn Thornton, and Johnny Boychuk left after that as Peter Chiarelli continues to be stuck in salary cap hell.
Still, there was a little optimism for the 2014-15 Bruins. But with all the injuries, roster shuffling and inconsistencies surrounding the B's, the last four months of the calendar year has given The Hub of Hockey with a gloomy outlook heading into 2015.
"Not much good things happened in 2014 for myself and for the team," said Lucic, who only has six goals in 37 games this season. "Just looking forward to 2015 and turning things around, and hopefully it will be better than this year."
Forty-eight hours beforehand, the Bruins arguably put together their best performance of the season -- without Lucic and Patrice Bergeron -- in their 5-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Even after a slow start against the Leafs on New Year's Eve, the Bruins rallied back to tie things at 3-3 with goals by Torey Krug and David Krejci late in the second period and outplayed their Atlantic Division rivals through the third period and overtime.
Still, the Black and Gold couldn't get the result when they were playing their best hockey of the night in the last 30 minutes or so. And they're left scratching their heads on why they've taken a step back after taking a big step forward without Bergeron and Lucic against the Red Wings.
"The last 30 minutes there, once we got it going and once we started playing with an edge, we started playing together," Lucic said about Wednesday's loss. "Especially when we make it 3-3 and we went out there in the third to play to win, we definitely had more of the chances in overtime as well. It's just a matter of baring down, that seems to be the sore story all season long.
"There was lulls in our effort to start, but I thought we fought back hard and we pushed to win. If we play like we did against Detroit and when we push to win, hopefully bounces start going in for us."
As New Years resolutions get tossed around, there's only one thing on top of the Bruins list in 2015: consistency. Their roster will likely have some additions as the months progress -- whether it's through the trade deadline or calling up first round pick David Pastrnak once he's finished with the World Junior Championships.
Yet, Brad Marchand, who himself had a rough 2014, knows that 2015 won't be easy.
"Just because it's a new year doesn't mean it's going to be a new season," said Marchand. "I think we all know it wasn't the best finish to 2014. Hopefully in the new year we can be better."