Only once in this century, or even within the past three decades, has this league seen a losing playoff finalist bounce back the next year to return to the final round, let alone win it. The 2008-09 Pittsburgh Penguins pulled the rare feat a full 25 years after the 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers did the same.
Naturally, there will be several sidebars worth scrutinizing between now and this spring as the Bruins seek to navigate through a multitude of roadblocks. Some of those challenges will be a direct product of residual wear and tear from last year, a side effect that has indubitably factored in to the shortcomings of past defending finalists.
In addition, how the Bruins fare and how certain players perform in the rest of their 2013-14 journey will likely hold sway on some summer storylines. Afterward, some more distant, less predictable items should begin to take over the chronicles when the start of the 2014-15 season rolls around.
For now, as 2013 morphs into 2014 this week, here are six storylines for Bruins followers to keep watching for.
Unless otherwise indicated, all statistics for this report were found via NHL.com.