Though the Boston Bruins have returned to practice coming out of the Christmas break, they’re also still clearly not completely out of the COVID protocol woods. Several players including Taylor Hall and Brandon Carlo were missing from Sunday’s practice while still in COVID protocol, and the Boston Bruins announced that No. 2 center Charlie Coyle has entered the league’s COVID protocol as well.
Coyle is the 11th player to enter COVID protocol since a fateful road game against the Calgary Flames a couple of weeks ago that started all kinds of trouble for the Black and Gold, including the postponement of five regular season games to this point.
Certainly, it’s something the Boston Bruins players are getting impatient about as the symptoms have been mostly mild for a fully vaccinated group of healthy, physically fit hockey players.
“It was pretty easygoing the whole time…mild symptoms,” said Marchand of his bout with COVID earlier this month. “This whole thing is tough. There are obviously valid arguments on both sides with it being new norm with a variant coming around every year. It’s something we’re obviously going to have to live with and we can’t be doing this every day year in ad year out. At this point we have to get back to some normalcy. Guys have done what they were supposed to do and got vaccinated and all that stuff. So at some point we need to get back to normal. Other leagues have gone back to just testing if you have symptoms and otherwise if you’re asymptomatic then you go about your day.
“We definitely have to get to that. The NBA did, the NFL is going there now and we’re going to be next. We need to get there soon. We can’t hold up the league if guys are fine, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to play.”
The good news is that fourth liner Curtis Lazar was one of the players that rejoined the Bruins for Sunday’s practice after getting off COVID protocol by producing a pair of negative tests after the virus had cleared his system.
The Bruins have also added players to a taxi squad that the NHL will grant teams moving forward due to the COVID complications, and veteran defenseman John Moore was the first player quickly added to that group.
NHL Revised Emergency Exception Rules:
-Emergency Exception ($0 Cap Hit) now eligible for Cap hits <= $1M (up from $850K).
-If short 12F/6D due to COVID, can recall w/out playing short 1 game
-If short 2 G’s for any reason, can recall w/out playing shorthttps://t.co/UPhgDtSdsc
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) December 26, 2021
In another interesting development, Tuukka Rask again practiced with the Bruins on Sunday and Bruce Cassidy said afterward it could be only a matter of weeks until he’d be ready to a return to game action, perhaps by mid-January. Rask is still without a contract with the Boston Bruins to this point, however.
Here are the Boston Bruins line combos and D-pairings based on Sunday’s practice as the B’s prep for a possible return on Wednesday night for a planned road date against the Ottawa Senators: