The Boston Bruins won’t be playing at TD Garden until the middle of February due to COVID-19 postponements for the Buffalo Sabres this weekend, but it’s going to look a little different when they do suit up there. The NHL rolled out some additional COVID-19 protocols for NHL arenas on Thursday as they continue to face growing positive test results and game postponements across the NHL, with the New Jersey Devils, Buffalo Sabres and Minnesota Wild among the teams temporarily shut down this week.
Most interestingly all NHL arenas will be removing the glass behind NHL benches in order to improve the circulation of air around the players at the bench, and that’s a big change from the status quo for NHL games. All team meetings will now be done virtually as well after outbreaks within several teams where it sounds like they were doing some things in person.
Here are the rest of the changes per FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Friedman, with the workers at TD Garden getting a couple of weeks to make improvements and changes around TD Garden. For the Bruins, they expect they’re going to take the weekend off with Saturday’s game vs. Buffalo postponed and Sunday scheduled at the beginning of the month as an off-day for the players per the CBA.
Bruce Cassidy doesn’t see it as the worst thing in the world at the end of a long road trip where the Boston Bruins have some bumps and bruises to heal up from after tough games against the Capitals and Flyers.
“I’m certainly not surprised. Hopefully [the game postponements] curtails it and people get healthy in the [East] Division here,” said Bruce Cassidy. “There’s been a few shutdowns now. It seems like it started in the South and hopefully this ends any spread or concerns. You saw it in football, baseball and basketball, so it’s not surprising to us. Saturday is a bit of a break for us because [the Sabres] were going to be sitting here waiting for us. That’s one of those games where we were looking at the wrong end of that one, but you never want to lose games either. I don’t think it’s bad to have a weekend off after coming off the road, especially when you don’t play until Wednesday.
“It’s just with the extra guys that have missed time, now you’re splitting your group up with 23 guys on the roster, six guys on the taxi squad and three or four [injured] guys at home. At the end of the day, we’ll definitely practice Monday and Tuesday and then Wednesday we’ll be off to New York. I think the break we can use to our advantage. The guys have some bumps and bruises and a few guys that have been off, like [Matt] Grzelcyk and [Jake] DeBrusk, we don’t have to rush back. For us, we play the hand we’re dealt and that’s how we’ll adjust accordingly.”
With the Boston Bruins potentially planning for a weekend off, here are the rest of the BHN Puck Links:
*Anytime somebody puts the fancy stats crew on blast I’m here for it, so this rant from Paul Maurice, on the stats guys coming after Blake Wheeler, is great. Don’t beak their damn captain! (TSN)
*Apparently our friends at Pittsburgh Hockey Now gave Sidney Crosby the impression that they think he’s old. That qualifies as a full-blown controversy in Pittsburgh. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
*James van Riemsdyk is having one of his best NHL seasons for the Flyers this year, and he says being a dad has helped him focus on his craft even more. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
*Nice piece by FOH’s (Friends of Haggs) Arpon Basu and Marc Antoine Godin on big defenseman Shea Weber hitting 1,000 games played with the Montreal Canadiens. (The Athletic)
*Old friend Torey Krug couldn’t resist sending out a tweet to let David Pastrnak know he was watching when he dropped a hat trick on the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night. (Boston Hockey Now)
*Speaking of the Flyers, this Gritty video from last night’s Bruins/Flyers tilt may quality as NSFW.
— BOSHockeyNow (@BOSHockeyNow) February 4, 2021
*For something completely different: A fun story on why there are no left-handed catchers at the Major League Baseball level. (MLB.com)