The bad news is that the Boston Bruins won’t be playing again until at least Thursday night at TD Garden against the New York Islanders, and they could be missing some key players when they do return to the ice.
The good news is that there weren’t any new Bruins players appearing on the NHL COVID Protocol list over the weekend, and there weren’t any hints of an outbreak with the Buffalo Sabres either. So, it appears, at this point anyway, that things were contained to Sean Kuraly, David Pastrnak, Jake DeBrusk, David Krejci and Craig Smith for the Black and Gold.
As things stand now, it looks like the Bruins will return to practice on Wednesday at Warrior Ice Arena barring any further COVID-19 setbacks in preparation for a return to game action on Thursday night. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney will speak to the media late Monday afternoon following a weekend of silence as the B’s quarantined, took COVID-19 tests and hoped that the outbreak didn’t get any worse than it already had last week.
As it is now, the Bruins still have a large group of injured players, several more stuck in quarantine and questions behind what this outbreak was traced back to in the first place. This humble hockey writer is also pretty curious as to how Krejci, Kuraly, DeBrusk, Pastrnak and Smith all made it back from Buffalo while not traveling with the rest of the Boston Bruins traveling group.
Per the press release from the NHL, the decision to postpone two games 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.”
If the Bruins can resume playing on Thursday against the Isles, 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 and make certain they are one of the four East Division teams that will qualify for the postseason.
There is a currently an NHL-designed buffer week between the end of the regular season and the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs for makeup games caused by COVID-19 Protocols, so one would imagine the Boston Bruins are pushing to extend things out a bit with the two makeup games.