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BHN Puck Links: NHL Grappling With Major COVID Spike League-Wide

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COVID

The NHL finds itself in a COVID mess these days. The Boston Bruins have been hit hard with three cases that have removed Craig Smith, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron from their lineup, but they are nowhere near the worst-case scenario in the NHL right now.

The Calgary Flames have been shut down with 16 players, three coaches and a host of support staff all in COVID protocol and the Nashville Predators are struggling with six players and the entire coaching staff wiped out with positive tests right now as well. The numbers are going up day after day, and you can see why when Marchand was out on the ice practicing with his teammates on Tuesday just minutes before a positive test knocked him out of action.

It was not surprising to see his linemate Bergeron out on Wednesday and more evidence of daily spread occurring once there’s an outbreak within a team. Now, there’s clearly an argument to be made those asymptomatic players like Marchand and Smith should be allowed to keep playing as long as they’ve been vaccinated, and perhaps that’s a subject the NHL will approach in the future if the COVID issues continue.

That’s a subject that Taylor Hall talked about following Tuesday night’s Bruins game vs. the Golden Knights.

“Yeah, it is [disheartening]. I mean, we all took the shots, and we’re in the same situation again. So it is disheartening,” Hall said. “We’re on the road and we’re trying to do the right things away from hockey. It is what it is. That’s the world we live in right now.

“At some point, hopefully this spring is the last time we have to deal with this stuff. But it is disheartening. I think you’re seeing it in football, you’re seeing it in basketball, you’re seeing it all over the place. I know Smitty and Marchy, they’re feeling fine. They could be playing the game. So, we’ll just deal with it. Every team has to go through it at some point.”

It sounds like the NHL and NHLPA will agree to tighten up the protocols to the levels they were last season as issues have arisen this year, and the hope is that it won’t get an extreme like a league pause or fans again being removed from the arenas as a result.

That would be awful.

Now on to the BHN Puck Links:

*The hits just keep on coming for the Boston Bruins as Patrice Bergeron as he landed on the COVID protocol list along with Brad Marchand and Craig Smith. (Boston Hockey Now)

*If Alex Ovechkin does indeed pass Wayne Gretzky on the NHL’s all-time scoring list, there should be no asterisks about it. (Washington Hockey Now)

*Break up the Vancouver Canucks, who have suddenly won five games in a row under Bruce Boudreau after their organizational cleanse. (Vancouver Hockey Now)

*The New York Islanders continue to have a tough time with the COVID-19 impacts as Mat Barzal is now in COVID protocol. (NYI Hockey Now)

*Speaking of Bruce Boudreau, his stories about being in the Slapshot movie and how it negatively impacted his career are worth the read. Pretty awesome stuff. (Sportsnet)

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Weekes having some fun with the mini-Zamboni that’s rolling around the ESPN studios.

*For something completely different: I loved watching this today.

Joe Haggerty has covered the Boston Bruins and the NHL for 18 years with NBC Sports Boston, WEEI.com, the Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times, and currently serves as lead Bruins reporter and columnist for Boston Hockey Now. Haggs always strives to capture the spirt of the thing any way that he can.

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Rick W Murray

Bruins stink

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