BOSTON -- As some of the Bruins watched the epic collapse just completed by the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night, they couldn’t help but relate to the sinking feeling the Sox players are likely feeling right now.
The core of the current Bruins team experienced a similar feeling when they became one of only three teams in NHL history and four in North American pro sports history to blow a 3-0 series lead, when they lost to Philadelphia in seven games in the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals. Following that collapse by the Bruins, the media and fans alike were calling for the firing of general manager Peter Chiarelli and head coach Claude Julien. Many suggested that the team be blown up. But after taking a long look at what was wrong, owner Jeremy Jacobs allowed Chiarelli and Julien to finish what they started and it paid off as the Bruins returned to win the Stanley Cup in 2010-11.
While the same course of action may or may not be the answer for the Red Sox right now, defenseman Andrew Ference said he hopes they at least take the time to get to the root of the problem.
“We knew what needed to be done here but really only we, the coaches and our management could know that, not anyone else,” Ference pointed out. “Sure people wanted heads to roll then and they probably want the same with the Sox now. But only they truly know what needs to be done. Maybe blowing it up there is the answer? I don’t know. But all I know is it helps to block the outside out in times like that and really examine the problems and dig down deep to learn what truly is wrong. Only they can do that and no one else.”
Julien expressed the same sentiment and said he is confident his baseball brethren will bounce back.
"There's a lot of reasons why those kind of things happen," Julien said. "But I guess as outsiders the natural thing to do is always to attack that team. But they're the only ones who know inside the real reason. It's tough. We've been through it and it's tough to swallow. And I'm sure those guys are certainly not happy and proud [Thursday], but they're going to bounce back. This is a proud organization and I'm confident they are going to bounce back."
But right now, bouncing back seems an eternity away for the Sox, said Ference. The raw feeling of failure is fresh and he said the Sox don’t have that feeling for lack of effort. Sometimes things just aren’t meant to be.
"It was almost like it was scripted to be as hurtful as possible," Ference said. "But what can you do? That's sports. I don't know what else you can say about it. It's a bad feeling to go through as a player. You're not trying to tank. It's almost like you're trying too hard to turn things around sometimes and you just get worse, and I feel that's kind of what happened there.”
Not much will really console the Red Sox according to Ference. It’s up to them to heal their emotional wounds and move on.
"I don't think athletes take a pat on the back too well after going through something like that," Ference said. "You're not looking for sympathy or anything like that. I think if you're honest with yourself you know you're disappointed in yourself. I don't think there was a guy here when we lost that was looking for a shoulder to cry on. We were mad at each other. More than anyone on the outside could be disappointed, we were disappointed in ourselves. But it's a matter of getting over it, sucking it up and taking responsibility for it. You only get in trouble if you start pointing fingers and trying to look for excuses. But if you take accountability and own up to not getting the job done, then I think you can move on from it."