The last time the Boston Bruins took the ice was Dec. 16, losing on the road to the New York Islanders as a COVID-19 outbreak reduced the available lineup and met with predictable results.
A robust schedule of four games in six days leading to Christmas never took flight, as the league postponed those contests and announced that the scheduled B’s-Pittsburgh Penguins home game Monday will also have to be played at a later date. That leaves a Dec.29 road tilt against the Ottawa Senators as the next potential mark on the calendar for Boston’s first game back.
With postponements stacking up around the NHL, and a growing number of scheduled games needing to be put back in the mix, the NHL announced that it will no longer be participating in the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, and will instead use the original three-week break to fill in the missed dates. Although a major disappointment for the players who were expected to go, it’s the right call.
Hockey is a business, and given the existing pandemic protocols were stretching certain teams to an untenable breaking point in terms of being able to reschedule the postponed games, the league’s obligation to its fans and sponsors had to take priority over the opportunity for players to represent their countries at a time when the coronavirus has returned to create major global disruptions once again.