Nobody feels worse than Steve Bernier after his major boarding penalty helped the Kings take control of Game 6 on Monday night and win the Stanley Cup. It might be unfair, but his name will now be lumped in the group of those who have committed notable playoff blunders.
The larger lesson, though, is that the others shown in the slideshow below didn't vanish after their miscue. All continued to make significant hockey contributions and didn't let one bad moment define them.
Bernier might have trouble appreciating that overview with the sting of defeat and the pangs of guilt still fresh. But here's proof that you can not only move on but move up:
In the 1979 Stanley Cup semifinals, the Bruins led the Canadiens 3-2 with less than three minutes left in Game 7. Then Boston was whistled for too many men on the ice when Cherry called for a line change when he should not have. Montreal scored on the power play, won the game in overtime, then beat the Rangers in the Final for its fourth consecutive Cup.
Aftermath: Cherry went on to become a national institution as a commentator for CBC's Hockey Night In Canada.
Edmonton and Calgary were tied in the third period of Game 7 of the 1986 Smythe Division finals. Smith, a rookie defenseman for the Oilers, tried to pass the puck from deep in his own zone but it banked off the leg of goalie Grant Fuhr for an own-goal. The Flames held on the remaining 14 minutes of the period and denied Edmonton a shot at a three-peat.
Aftermath: Smith went on to play 14 more seasons in the NHL and won three Cups with the Oilers.
The Kings had won Game 1 of the 1993 Stanley Cup Final in Montreal and led late in Game 2. That's when McSorley was called for having an illegal stick. The Canadiens scored on the power play, then won it in overtime. The Kings never recovered, and Montreal won the Cup in five games.
Aftermath: McSorley played seven more seasons in the NHL. After a brief stint coaching in the minors, McSorley transitioned to a career in hockey broadcasting.
The Red Wings were the top seed but found themselves tied 2-2 in the third period of Game 7 against upstart San Jose. Osgood, Detroit's rookie goalie, turned over the puck to Jamie Baker. The Sharks center slammed it into the open net to finish the upset. Osgood openly wept in the locker room after the game.
Aftermath: Osgood won three Stanley Cups with the Wings and was the starter on two of those teams. At the time of his retirement, he ranked in the top ten of all-time wins for goalies.
Bernier was slapped with a major boarding penalty in the first period on Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi. Los Angeles scored three times on the ensuing power play to seize control.
Aftermath: Bernier will become a free agent this summer. He has already shuttled around the league with five teams, but his size (6-3, 220) and his otherwise strong playoff performance should make him an attractive low-cost pickup.