Sorry Boston Bruins fans, if the Coronavirus cancels the 2019-20 NHL season, it’s very unlikely your Boston Bruins will not be the 2020 Stanley Cup Champions. Since the NHL announced it was ‘pausing’ its season on Thursday, there have been rumors flying around social media and even on some Boston sports stations that the Bruins (44-14-12, 100 points) would be crowned the 2020 champs because they had the highest points percentage (.714).
When asked by email if the Bruins would be champs should this season be canceled, NHL Deputy Commissioner wouldn’t directly comment on that saying the league hasn’t even started thinking about the outcome nobody wants, no more NHL this season.
“Hasn’t even been contemplated, much less discussed,” Daly replied in an email.
A Bruins source also echoed that sentiment saying he hadn’t heard of or even really taken the time to ponder the matter given the “much more important circumstances at stake in real life right now.”
However, another high-ranking NHL source replied:
“I would say our historical precedent would suggest a different result.”
The last time an NHL season was halted in-season was during the 1919 Stanley Cup Final as the Spanish Flu ravaged North America. The Montreal Canadiens and Seattle Metropolitans were tied with two wins and a tie heading into Game 6 and the series was called off because of the poor health of many Montreal players. After collapsing on the ice in Game 5, Canadiens defenseman Joe Hall died four days later. No Stanley Cup was awarded that season, the first and only time that happened until the 2004-05 NHL lockout.
Under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement that began the following season, the Stanley Cup has been handed to every Stanley Cup-winning captain since Commissioner Gary Bettman gave it to Carolina Hurricanes captain Rod Brind’Amour in 2006 after the Canes beat the Edmonton Oilers in six games. As of now, it appears if the Bruins end up Stanley Cup champions for the second time in nine years then it will once again be Bettman handing it to Chara on the ice and not in some planned celebration off it. There, unfortunately, is an increasingly real chance though that Bettman won’t hand the Stanley Cup over to any NHL captain this year because of the Coronavirus.