Uncertainty is the governing body of the NHL and all sporting leagues around the globe during this COVID-19 pandemic.
A plethora of rumors featuring potential comeback strategies began upon the suspension of the 2019-20 calendar year. Those include neutral site games in Manchester, NH and North Dakota, a potential 30-team playoff, and even finishing this season in the fall.
But the truth is no one knows if or when the NHL will resume play this season. We are in uncharted territories, and there is a real possibility that there will be no Stanley Cup awarded this season.
Should the NHL cancel the rest of its season, it would be especially devastating to the Boston Bruins.
Less than a year ago, this team found themselves within a game of the ultimate prize only to drop an embarrassing 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues in the franchises first-ever home Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
I remember walking into the Bruins’ locker room after the game — while the Blues were parading the Cup around the TD Garden ice — and seeing their hearts ripped out.
Joakim Nordstrom was the first player I saw as I turned the corner and headed into the room. He was speechless in tears and hugging one of the members of the Bruins PR staff.
Amidst all of the tears and plethora of national media, I will never forget seeing Jake DeBrusk after that game. He sat at his stall — almost an hour after the final horn — with his head in his hands while still wearing his entire sans helmet.
DeBrusk didn’t say a single word to anyone. He didn’t have to. The Bruins had just suffered the most devastating loss of most of their careers and it will be something they will remember for the rest of their lives.
Nonetheless, the team licked its wounds during their short summer and returned to training camp motivated as ever to rewrite the script.
Don Sweeney found a way to sign RFA’s Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo to short-term bridge deals. With McAvoy and Carlo back in the fold, the Bruins jumped out to a league-best 11-1-2 record.
The Bruins were the best team in the NHL all season long and they weren’t the beneficiaries of fortunate circumstances that fell in their lap during the previous postseason.
Fast forward to the COVID-19 hiatus. The Bruins are still leading the league with 100 points and are a preemptive favorite to make the Finals again.
Redemption is right around the corner. Unfortunately, they might not get that chance to write the final chapter. To go through everything this team has gone through and have its goals derailed by something out of their control will be a tougher pill to swallow.
This season was potentially the last go around for some of the players. Pending UFA Torey Krug hopes he didn’t play his final game in Boston. Zdeno Chara isn’t getting any younger. Even Tuukka Rask hinted at retirement once his contract expires.
As the uncertainty during this COVID-19 pandemic continues, we all hope hockey returns in some form. It will not only be good for our sanity, but the players also deserve a chance to finish out the season.
Matt is a recent graduate from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in sports journalism and a minor in business. He currently reports on the Boston Bruins and writes featured stories and game recaps for both Bruins Daily and Boston.com
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