The Boston Bruins will have to wait to redeem themselves from the 7-1 drubbing they took from the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 Wednesday night. Game 4 between the Lightning and the Bruins Friday night has been postponed and as of now. In a joint statement, the NHL and NHLPA said the two Stanley Cup Playoff games on Thursday night and the two Friday, have been postponed and play will resume on Saturday.
There were no times given for the rescheduled games and it is not known yet whether the Bruins and Lightning will play Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series on Saturday or Sunday. Following the announcement though, an NHL source told Boston Hockey Now that the Bruins would likely have to wait until 8 PM Sunday to get their chance to tie the series at two games apiece.
Here’s the official statement from the NHL and NHLPA:
“After much discussion, NHL Players believe that the best course of action would be to take a step back and not play tonight’s and tomorrow’s games as scheduled. The NHL supports the Players’ decision and will reschedule those four games beginning Saturday and adjust the remainder of the Second Round schedule accordingly.
Black and Brown communities continue to face real, painful experiences. The NHL and NHLPA recognize that much work remains to be done before we can play an appropriate role in a discussion centered on diversity, inclusion, and social justice.
We understand that the tragedies involving Jacob Blake, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others require us to recognize this moment. We pledge to work to use our sport to influence positive change in society.
The NHLPA and NHL are committed to working to foster more inclusive and welcoming environments within our arenas, offices, and beyond.”
ESPN NHL reporter Emily Kaplan broke the story earlier in the day that there would be no games played on Thursday night.
No NHL games will be played tonight.
Sounds like the Hockey Diversity Alliance, w/ a strong push from Evander Kane & Matt Dumba, convinced players to take a step back. If you want to know more about the HDA, here's their website. Group was formed in June. https://t.co/LCA8GqpdcH
— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) August 27, 2020
TSN NHL Insider Darren Dreger also had reported that Thursday’s Game 3 between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders and Game 3 between the Vegas Golden Knights and Vancouver Canucks could be pushed back to Friday night and then in effect push Game 4 of the Bruins-Lightning and Game 4 of the Dallas Stars-Colorado Avalanche would be played on Saturday.
👇 this is what is being discussed now. https://t.co/7dCDI2MI8j
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) August 27, 2020
After the Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the court for their playoff game against the Orlando Magic Wednesday afternoon in protest of the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the NHL and NHLPA still went ahead with the Bruins-Lightning Game 3 and then Game 3 of the Golden Knights-Stars. They immediately came under siege with players, media and fans calling them out for not following the lead of the NBA. On Thursday, the Hockey Diversity Alliance, led by San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane and Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba (both founders of HDA urged the NHL and NHLPA to postpone Thursday’s games.
“We strongly feel this sends a clear message that human rights take priority over sports,” Kane tweeted.
— Evander Kane (@evanderkane_9) August 27, 2020
Following Game 3 Wednesday night, Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said he would’ve stood behind his players if they had chosen not to play Wedensday night.
“I would’ve supported our group whatever they decided, 100% behind them,” Cassidy said.
According to Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara though, the players didn’t have enough time between the NBA boycott and the 8:23 PM ET faceoff for Game 3.
“It was so close to our game, we obviously took – after our pregame meal we took naps and then we were on the bus,” Chara said. “I don’t think any of us were watching the TV until we got to the rink and then at that point it was too close to the game to start any discussions or making, trying to change them, move the games to different dates. We had the afternoon game and we were just basically following the schedule that the NHL provided to us.”
Cassidy spoke to the media via Zoom Thursday morning but was not asked about the situation and no Bruins players were available.