On June 12 an unnamed Boston Bruins player tested positive for COVID19 and on Monday morning, Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy assured the media that his team is both physically and mentally healthy.
“Right now, with our group, everyone is healthy. …coaching staff, equipment staff, players, so we feel pretty confident but that could change,” Cassidy told the media in a Zoom call. “Until or if it does though, we’re all prepared to go back to work. I do think the NHL will do their absolute best to make sure that we’re as safe as possible. These are their assets going forward and they want to make sure they get it right and put a real good product on the ice and get back to doing what we do best.
So we’re balancing those two things and until there’s maybe an outbreak, for lack of a better term, I think we’re going to try and handle this as they’ve done so far. They’ve been delicate with it but we are slowly ramping up and hopefully get to the point where they get the formula right and hopefully everyone feels safe and is ready to go.”
The potential Jack Adams Award candidate also confirmed that as of Monday morning, no Bruins players had expressed concerns or reservations about being part of the NHL Return To Play 24-team playoff tournament for the Stanley Cup that could start as soon as July 31.
“We’ve allowed the players to discuss that internally,” Cassidy replied when asked if any health concerns or doubts about playing have been expressed by his players. “I’ve gone to the leaders on that and so far we’ve gotten good feedback in terms of where the players feel they’re at, but that could change as we get closer. Maybe some more positive tests within the group could affect how players think?”
What if a player did have reservations though about the health risks and anything else regarding coming back to play if and when training camp and Phase 3 of the NHL Return play begins on July 10 or for the actual Stanley Cup playoffs and Phase 4?
“We’d try to get to the root. Is it a health issue or is something deeper in there? If that’s the way they felt, I don’t know how we stop them. It’s that simple. I think it’s the player’s right to work in a safe environment,” Cassidy said. “That’s why the NHL is doing everything they can. They don’t want this to happen. We’d have to have an internal discussion. See if there’s something that would make them feel more comfortable. But at the end of the day, if that’s the way they feel we’d have to honor their request.”
Per TSN Insider Bob McKenzie on Monday morning, the NHL is hoping to officially announce their two Hub Cities where the Eastern and Western Conferences will set up shop and quarantine in a bubble from the outside world to prevent a coronavirus outbreak.
In the ongoing saga of NHL Hub cities, we may get a formal announcement from the NHL/NHLPA as early as today. If not today, then tomorrow. Stop me if you’ve heard that before. But, for now anyway, that’s where things are at.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 29, 2020
The league has gone from a list of ten potential Hub Cities back in May, to five in the last ten days. Chicago, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Toronto are the five finalists with Las Vegas still being a frontrunner despite the recent spike in COVID cases.
“Every relevant consideration will be fairly evaluated before decisions are made and announced,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told TSN’s Ryan Rishaug when asked about the rise in cases on Saturday.
As McKenzie pointed out, if Las Vegas is chosen, it will be due in large part to Vegas bid being the best “locked down” or “protected” bubble of the remaining candidates.
The NHL has been on pause since March 12 when they stopped the 2019-20 regular season due to the Coronavirus outbreak across North America and the world.