Let’s start this off by saying it’s not a good thing that members of the Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins have been placed on the COVID-19 protocol list. In no way shape or form is it a good thing that players are at risk of being infected with the virus. But either way, this is the situation the Boston Bruins now find themselves in. The team has had two games postponed and their facilities shut down until March 24th. This team has struggled in recent weeks so while this situation is not ideal, there may be a silver lining to their COVID-19 postponement.
Boston Bruins COVID-19 Postponement Is a Blessing and a Curse
Since the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Games where the Boston Bruins took on the Philadelphia Flyers, Boston is 5-5-2. That record is deplorable compared to how they started the year. Prior to the last 12 games, the Bruins were one of the best teams in the NHL sporting an impressive 11-3-2 record. Now, they have fallen to fourth place in their division with a combined record of 16-8-4. While there are still plenty of games left, there are concerns about their ability to regain the top position in the East division. This COVID-19 postponement could allow them to regain their footing.
A Season Like No Other
To say this season has been unorthodox is an understatement. Teams are playing a 56 games slate in just four months. The Bruins have weeks in which they will play four games. That does not bode well for Boston. This team is good at what they do, but they have a roster that has been mostly supported by older players. Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, and Brad Marchand all rank in the top five in points on the team. All three are also on the wrong side of 30. While that works fine in a normal year, it does not make the most sense when the schedule is moving at an expedited rate.
We also need to take the strength of the schedule into account this season. Only two teams in this division are truly out of the running. Every other team has a legitimate chance of qualifying for the postseason. All it takes is one hot or cold streak to change the entire narrative in the East Division. This level of competition has put each team’s roster to the test night in and night out. There are no chances to slow down and catch your breath as there would be in a normal year. One or two losses or off days could cost you big time, this season more than ever.
Another problem facing this team has been their five-on-five play. This team has struggled with consistency playing at even strength. There have been nights where they go out and put on a show. The Bruins put all of their talent and skill on display. Then other nights, they can barely get 10 shots on the net over the course of two periods. Their powerplay has accounted for 21 of the 75 team goals so far this season. While it’s great that the powerplay has been good this season, they have been far too reliant upon it.
The Road Ahead
Boston’s coaching staff needs to take advantage of this break. While the circumstances of it are unfortunate, this provides them with an opportunity to catch up with themselves. They have been slipping too much in recent weeks. They need to regroup and approach the next game on the schedule in a different manner. This short respite should give their tired legs a chance to recover before returning to one of the most gruelling schedules in all sports.