If the NHL is to complete the 2019-20 season and award the Stanley Cup, it will do so without fans in the arena. There is simply no way around that. As reality begins to set in for fans, players and media, the feelings are mixed. Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk was asked for his thoughts on that topic on Thursday. Grzelcyk was the latest to partake in the Bruins Town Hall on Zoom.
“That’s tough to say,” Grzelcyk said when asked what his thoughts were on empty arena playoff games. “You want to get back, you want to be playing as quick as possible as long as it is safe to do so.”
The Stanley Cup Playoffs have never been played without fans in attendance. In fact, many have argued that the fans and the atmosphere is what makes the Stanley Cup Playoffs the greatest tournament in sports. Without them? It can be tough for some to imagine.
“It would be weird for sure,” Matt Grzelcyk continued. “We love the fans and that’s part of what makes playoff hockey so special. Getting that extra boost from the crowd and giving you that extra adrenaline.”
Another thing that would be missed? The momentum turning during those huge moments in the biggest games.
“There’s nothing quite like getting a big win or a huge goal, a comeback game, things like that, feeding off that energy from the crowd,” he said. Not all would be lost without the fans, however.
“It’s still a chance to play playoff hockey and have another chance to hopefully go deep in the playoffs,” Grzelcyk quipped. “I think as players we just want to be given a chance and given an opportunity to achieve our goal.”
It appears they will get their chance. It just won’t be ‘normal’.