Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy isn’t sure how his players will react to any isolation and social distancing guidelines for an NHL return.
Cassidy has always been a glass-half-full type of guy since taking over as the Bruins bench boss back in February 2017 but he’s also a realist. That’s why Cassidy knows accepts that if and when the NHL decides to return, whatever scenario the NHL they deliver to the NHLPA for their John Hancocks will require multiple sacrifices from all involved. Next to the chance that the players could get infected with COVID19, there may be none bigger ask than the isolation and social distancing that will likely be required from the players in order to salvage at least the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs. Cassidy was asked recently if he had addressed his players regarding the potential of being away from their families for potentially two months?
“I have not. Simply because until its a little more concrete, the ‘what if scenarios’. …they’re probably going through them in their mind themselves,” Cassidy replied in a Zoom conference with the media Monday.
“You want to get in front of things but I’d have to get some direction from Donny on that and how we go about discussing that with the players. Obviously, they would have to be in agreement in some way, shape or form on that would all work out.”
Longtime New York Post and hall of fame hockey columnist Larry Brooks reported this past Saturday that right now, not all players are on board with the isolation and social distancing requirements being discussed.
“We can authoritatively tell you there isn’t anything close to unanimity within the Players’ Association on the matter of players leaving their families behind for what would be up to a couple of months for those on teams advancing deep into the playoffs.”
Cassidy also admitted he’s not 100 percent sure all the players with families would be on board and discussed the financial risks and factors that still have uncertainty the prevailing feeling around a potential return.
“I am not sure how the players would react to that, to being away that long,” Cassidy said. “I know every player is invested and motivated to play but there’s a lot of. …breakdown of the revenues and how that gets distributed so even the teams that are out, there’s something on the line for them financially, so that’s part of it.
So I know that the players would have to be. …you’d like them to be unanimous in this decision in order to get back at it, whatever the parameters are and obviously it’s not going to be ideal for anybody. Not obviously the fans, the players and the ice conditions they’ve talked about and the risk of injury, there’s a lot of stuff that’s atypical in this situation.”
With all that in mind, Cassidy still circled back to the isolation aspect.
“So, that would be one more thing: Are you isolated in a hotel for what amount of time, especially if you make a long run?” Cassidy pointed out. “It could be as long as six to eight weeks so there’s going to be a lot of discussions, a lot of details that are broader than ‘hey are we playing or not?’ and hopefully, their kind of as friendly to the players as possible.”