After avoiding any kind of Bruins-related issues for most of the year, it looks like the Boston Bruins are finally going to be forced to deal with their own internal brush with COVID-19.
The NHL announced on Friday that the Boston Bruins will have to postpone two games, tomorrow night’s road date vs. the Buffalo Sabres, and Tuesday’s home date vs. the New York Islanders after four B’s players had to enter the NHL’s COVID Protocols on Friday. It was later confirmed that Jake DeBrusk, David Krejci, Craig Smith and David Pastrnak were the four additional Bruins players added to the NHL’s COVID Protocol list. The Bruins will basically have to shut things down until at least Wednesday, when they could begin practicing again based on the COVID-19 test results in the coming days.
One of the unfortunate developments here: The March 23 home game vs. the Islanders was supposed to be the first game at TD Garden where a small number of Bruins fans were going to be allowed back into the building.
Per the press release from the NHL, the decision was made by the League’s, NHLPA’s and Club’s medical groups. The Bruins’ organization has, and will continue to follow, all recommended guidelines aimed at protecting the health and safety of its Players, staff and community at large as set by the NHL, local, state and national agencies.
The Bruins took a 4-1 win over the Sabres on Thursday night in a game that was eventually played even after Sean Kuraly had to enter into COVID-19 protocols earlier on Thursday, and a member of the Buffalo Sabres staff also had to do the same thing. Both teams scrapped their morning skate on Thursday after the test results and the there was question as to whether the game was even going to be played prior to Friday’s news that there appears to be a mini outbreak on the Bruins.
If the Bruins can resume playing next Thursday, they will be facing a schedule where they play their remaining 28 games in 45 days unless the NHL A) permanently cancels games or B) extends the regular season to allow for teams to play postponed games. That would make for an extremely difficult path for the fourth place Boston Bruins to play their best hockey in the second half of the season.
The Bruins were initially supposed to hold a 2 pm practice in Buffalo at the KeyBank Center and both Bruce Cassidy and some players were expected to be available to speak with the media, but that’s been put on hold given the latest COVID Protocol development. There will be no Bruins media availability on Friday as the organization assesses the situation.