Just minutes after the NHL released their updated and daily COVID Protocol list, which still included the five Boston Bruins players that have been on there since Friday, General Manager Don Sweeney addressed the media.
Sweeney didn’t have any concrete answers as to when Sean Kuraly, David Pastrnak, David Krejci, Jake DeBrusk, and Craig Smith would be cleared to play. Nor could he tell reporters whether the team would be able to play the New York Islanders as scheduled this Thursday.
“The hope is we continue to gain knowledge and move forward over the next couple of days with the hope of returning to some kind of practice Wednesday but we have some hurdles to cross before we can get there,” Sweeney said.
The Bruins scheduled game against the Buffalo Sabres this past Saturday was postponed, as was what would’ve been their first game with fans at TD Garden tomorrow against the New York Islanders. Thankfully, according to Sweeney and the NHL, fans will still be allowed to fill TD Garden to 12-percent capacity if the Bruins play Thursday, regardless of the team’s COVID issues.
As for what the chances the Bruins and Islanders – who saw defenseman Noah Dobson added to the COVID List Monday – drop the puck Thursday are, Sweeney reiterated that all he, his team, and the Islanders can do is follow the protocol as they have been.
“The protocols and such and who’s on the list that the league puts forth, and produces, we just follow the steps accordingly, whether those are contact tracing steps or positives, we just have to fall in line with what the league recommends and the best medical advice,” Sweeney said. “Our doctors are included in that. Both teams at the time are included in that and then you play the games that are scheduled as they come and you make adjustments as we did. The test results will determine who will be available to us to play on Thursday.”
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Sweeney was asked more than once if the team and league had determined how the outbreak started and if the protocol was broken at any point but wasn’t about to throw any players or staff under the bus. Instead, he held steadfast the team has and continues to remain in line with COVID Protocol.
“So as far as the tracing side of things, again the league does several steps,” Sweeney said. “They’re doing absolutely everything we can with extra care testing and extra daily testing to eliminate all the variables that you possibly can. But what you’re going to find, and what you have found over the course of time, is that the virus continues to spread.
Then you have to kind of narrow down where it was and we’ve done some of that through the tracing and such, and then out of an abundance of caution, and you’ve seen it at different times, where teams have had to take a pause. That’s where we are; we’re in the middle of our pause and hopefully, we’ve contained where we thought the initial test was and you go from there.”