It's a testament to the talent acquired by Peter Chiarelli and the coaching job done by Claude Julien that, prior to this current season, the Boston Bruins hadn't missed the NHL Playoffs since 2007.
The failure that 2014 has become though, for a team and fanbase so used to meaningful summer hockey, could spell the end for a large number of current members of the Bruins organization, as team president Cam Neely and owner Charlie Jacobs seem ill-equipped to accept failure in any form.
Changes are sure to come; it seems only a matter of where and when, not if.
"Trades will be made, and many of the team's five unrestricted free agents -- Carl Soderberg, Adam McQuaid, Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Matt Bartkowski -- will likely be playing elsewhere next season. Even core players such as Milan Lucic, who definitely had a subpar season, could be on the trade block," writes Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston.
The still just 26-year-old Lucic suffered through a down season - managing just 18 goals and 26 assists - amid speculation of some type of undisclosed injury. Speaking after the Bruins' playoff-less possibility became reality, he sounded a realistic, but positive tone in speaking to reporters about his future in Boston.
"Obviously, there are high expectations on this team and on this organization, and when those high expectations aren't met, changes seem to usually be made," Lucic said. "As a player, those are things that are out of your control.
"Personally, I want to be back and stay in Boston. You love it here. You love the team, you love the city, you love the organization, and you hope that things stay the same as much as they can."
For Lucic, it was less the lowered scoring totals and more the manner in which he failed to contribute as mightily as has become custom. Too often he looked slow, disinterested, or wholly incapable of playing his usual game-changing, power forward style.
He wasn't the only player to offer limited contributions in what amounted to a failed season for Boston though, and thus may not be the only player considered for an offseason move elsewhere.
Fluto Shinzawa of The Boston Globe believes Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith could be sent to not necessarily green, but certainly different, NHL pastures, thanks to the depth they boast at right wing. Eriksson's name popped up in speculation prior to the trade deadline, so with his return to health and positive statistical output, his value in trade may never be higher than this offseason.
No matter what form they take, changes will come for Boston - rising defenseman Dougie Hamilton needs an extension, so not all the looming structural alterations will be negative. It would seem hasty and altogether knee-jerk should Neely and Jacobs choose to part ways with either of Julien or Chiarelli, but there's no denying that this season was far from what fans have come to expect from the Bruins franchise, fair or otherwise.
"I consider it a failure," Chiarelli said Friday, per Shinzawa. "It's a failure on everybody's part. But being a failure doesn't mean there has to be a complete overhaul of everything. Guys fail. Teams fail. They get back on their horse. I consider it a failure. But you don't always succeed in this business. You don't always hit the ball out of the park all the time. You've got to get back and do your job, and we've shown we can do that. But right now, it's pretty disappointing."