Boston Bruins back after COVID outbreak among star players


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Star Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk was among the players placed in quarantine due to an outbreak among the Bruins players.

Luke Sugar, Crier Staff

The Bruins are set to lace up their skates for the first time in nearly a week. On Thursday night Bruins hockey is back in action, and the B’s face off against the New York Islanders in their first game returning from a COVID pause.

The Bruins season has had its fair share of ups and downs, but last Friday, March 19, was definitely one of the lower moments for the boys in black and yellow. Don Sweeney, the Bruins general manager, and the other members of the Bruins management put a halt on the season after a group of players were placed on the COVID list. Sean Kuraly, Jake DeBrusk, David Krejci, David Pastrnak and Craig Smith made up that list.

Having these players off the ice for some time is a blow to the B’s depth chart for sure. Not to mention the Bruins have had their fair share of offensive struggles even at full strength. Having five forwards out is not going to help the Bruins put the puck in the net. David Pastrnak’s absence leaves the biggest hole in the lineup.

Pastrnak is something special to watch on the ice. The crafty superstar has been tearing it up night after night. To put his importance in perspective, Pastrnak leads the Bruins in scoring with 14 goals, even after missing seven games at the beginning of the season due to right hip surgery. The Bruins will be in desperate need for someone to step up while Pastrnak is in quarantine. But those are very big shoes to fill. Krejci will also be missed during his time off. Krejci hasn’t been a scoring threat whatsoever this season, but he has a nose for setting up his teammates. He’s tied with Patrice Bergeron as the leading assist man with 15 on the season. Krejci’s impact is certainly still felt, and he’s one of the Bruins most important offensive initiators.

Even for the guys who are not quarantined, getting back into the swing of things might be a challenge on Thursday night. This will be the first time the Bruins have played in a week. In reality, a week off is a long time, especially in hockey. The NHL is a very unforgiving league, and missing a week of practice, workouts and games can absolutely set a team back.

The Bruins had to reschedule two games this past week, including last Saturday’s matchup with the Buffalo Sabres and yesterday’s game against the New York Islanders. While the Bruins five forwards are on COVID protocol, the B’s have one matchup against the East Division leading Islanders, two matchups against the division worst Sabres and two matchups against the Devils, who are second to last in the East Division. The Bruins should aim to steal at least one game from the Sabres and at least one game from the Devils, in order to limit the damage during their time undermanned.

This has been a bizarre year in the NHL to say the least. So far this season has had a shocking 37 postponed games related to COVID. During this unpredictable season, the success of a team truly is a testament of their dedication, chemistry, grit and perseverance. The Bruins are not in an ideal spot after a week off and with five players out. But their upcoming games absolutely give them the chance to prove their heart and determination to the league, which they’ll look to build from when the team is healthy again.