A week after he marched in a protest for Black Lives Matter, Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was back on the ice for the first time in Phase 2 of the NHL Return To Play plan. Chara was joined by fellow defenseman John Moore and forward Par Lindholm Saturday morning at Warrior Arena in Brighton, MA.
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Chara, Moore, and Lindholm became the second group of players to skate for the Bruins after Bruins star forwards Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron took their first whirl on the ice Wednesday. That was the first time any Bruins have skated at Warrior Arena since the NHL paused the 2019-20 regular season back on March 10 as the Coronavirus outbreak became a pandemic. Phase 2 of the NHL Return Plan began this past Monday. In a Zoom call with the media on Friday, Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney told reporters that Anton Blidh (Sweden), Joakim Nordstrom (Sweden), David Pastrnak (Czech Republic), Jakub Zboril (Czech Republic), Daniel Vladar (Czech Republic) and Urho Vaakanainen (Finland) were still making their way over from Europe. All players still returning from overseas or Canada will need to quarantine for the league-mandated 14 days.
“We’ve got several players outside the country and several players that have gone back to Canada,” Sweeney said. “There have been players that have had access to ice and skating facilities that other players have not. You have to go through the protocols of testing when they come in and there will be a mandated quarantine period for players coming from abroad. But there are no indications that we would have a player that wouldn’t be eligible [to play].”
Of course the big news Friday was that an unnamed Bruins player had tested positive for COVID19. That player has since tested negative twice and remains asymptomatic. Sweeney said that the player had not been in contact with any teammates or even been to Warrior Arena yet. Sweeney also explained that regular but not daily testing is required for every player during Phase 2. Once Phase 3 or training camp begins, the testing will be done daily. The Bruins GM also confirmed that the subsequent tests after a requirement and thankfully with this Bruins player, they were negative. As Sweeney acknowledged, everyone is still in the learning process as far as dealing with COVID19 goes.
“I think everybody’s learning, with how we properly interact and distance and react to the original test results we’re seeing,” said Sweeney. “We’ll be testing daily when we get to the later stages. … This phase is a voluntary phase, but I think we’re learning and we’ll continue to learn throughout this as the players go through it and really everybody interacts.”