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Let’s have fun out there.

If this is it, we have no choice but to have as much fun as humanly possible.

Carolina Hurricanes v Boston Bruins - Game Three Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

The season is upon us. A few scant hours separate us from the opening of the Boston Bruins’ 99th NHL season.

It is, at least by estimation, the last season that captain Patrice Bergeron will play for the Boston Bruins. There has been a preseason, and there will be a postseason to follow the regular season. After all of that, the player one could unequivically call the protagonist of the 21st century Boston Bruins will ride off into the sunset, and embrace a happy ever after. It’s likely one of his long-time partners in crime, David Krejci, will ride with him.

Much of the league they entered has been irrevocably changed by their being in it, and by the forces of players inspired by them. The puck movement, the shooting, the defensive awareness, the heart. All have been shown and have won, and have been passed to the next generation of player. They gave us a cup. They gave us individual awards aplenty. They are legends in their own time. Time that is now fading.

Much of the first roster they shared as full-time teammates is now long-gone, retired and hopefully enjoying the fruits of that retirement. Some still hang now as grizzled veterans and depth pieces. Some now take up positions as front office staff. Others still now coach in the NHL and AHL. Even the giants they used to consider leader and captain has gone to the Undying Lands of a well-deserved rest, and his name will be hoisted to the rafters of TD Garden at some point this year. They alone remain, as they were; vital to the team, vital to their success.

The faces around them now are newer than they remember: 20% of all Czechs at this level of the game now play here, so I’d imagine the locker room has a lot of that particular tongue being spoken than there’s been. The coach is bald again and makes silly expressions sometimes, that’s a little nostalgic. The goal horn and song are still the same, the sweater has stuck around for quite some time, and there’s even an outdoor game in Boston to look forward to. To say nothing of course about the Silver bowl at the end of every season; the reason so many dollars, hours, blood, sweat and tears are sacrificed. It will all be there. But for Patrice and Krejci, it will likely be their last time.

This is their last ride. Their final chapter.

So what do we do? The fans who cheer and scream and yell and throw things when they take the ice? What do we do as we watch a number glide past us in the rink that may never be worn by another player in black and gold? What do we do as it sinks in that every time he plays a western conference foe, it might be the last time he might ever play them? What do we do when we reckon with the fact that a face that has defined this team for two whole decades might not be there again?

The correct thing to do, is of course to celebrate this as much as possible.

We are to go all in on this team.

The Boston Bruins, when they get healthy, are going to be so much fun to watch. David Krejci finally gets to play with David Pastrnak, Pavel Zacha gets a second chance at proving his pedigree, Matt Grzelcyk and Charlie McAvoy get to play conquering heroes when they return from Injured Reserve, Jakub Lauko gets to make his NHL debut, AJ Greer returns to Boston, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron once again get to become the Dynamic Duo. Swayman and Ullmark get to give the people what they want, which is a great big hug after a win, and there’s optimism enough to believe they’ll have many.

The time for worrying about the long-term future is over. The time for worrying about what Washington’s forecheck is gonna look like is now. The time for wondering how deep this team can go for Bergeron is now. The time for wondering who will step up in the absences of the many, many players on the roster is now.

Sure, there can and will be agitation and consternation and fear, I think we all can agree the lineup that hits the ice in Washington tonight isn’t exactly ideal; and yes, there will be melancholy when at long last this season, wherever it ends, reaches it’s conclusion, but it’s important to remember that as of right now, we get to be the ones to forge memories of the last season of a player that will hold as much of a cultural impact on the team as titans of the game like Orr and Bourque and Esposito to many a young fan. We deserve to treat this season as just a little more special than usual for this reason.

The future of the Boston Bruins is as murky as mud. It will be very different next year, and maybe the next ten years after this. All of us will have to put on our boots and wade into the mire to try and navigate these turbulent waters of the future eventually. But until that point, when it can no longer be ignored, we are still standing on a pier, looking out onto a sandy beach with clear hearts and . The wind isn’t too much. The day is clear. There is ample space to take in a beautiful season of NHL hockey. One we will almost certainly never forget.

So let’s go out into the sand, and have fun out there for 82 games and change.

Let’s Go Bruins!