The Boston Bruins were having a great 2019-2020 campaign, holding a six point lead for the top spot in the NHL standings. That is, until the NHL announced that the NHL season would be put on hold due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. This is obviously devastating news for the Bruins, who had been on a roll all season, and for all that momentum to stop suddenly can’t bode well for their confidence.
Although this stoppage in play could last a while, the commissioner of this NHL fully expects that there will be a Stanley Cup champion named for this season. This would mean that the Stanley Cup playoffs would proceed to occur at some point this year and we may even still get the end of the regular season as well which is good news to both fans and the players.
If the season does start back up, there has been speculation that the NHL could decide to forego the rest of the NHL regular season and go directly into the playoffs. If that does happen the NHL could decide to expand the playoffs from 16 teams to 24 teams and have a few play-in playoff games basically meaning that there will be a few playoff games for teams who are on the mend of being a playoff team or not. This would mean little for the Bruins, as they will be safe and basically have a miniature bye for those one-and-done playoff games if they do occur.
Another crazy idea that has been floating around is that if the NHL has an extended suspension, they could potentially reboot the season in late July, finish the regular season, start the playoffs in August with the typical 16 teams and award the Stanley Cup in late September. Following that would be a short offseason with the draft and free agency all taking place in October. Then the 2020-2021 season would start in November with a condensed 82 game season ending at the typical time in late June.
How these timelines could affect the Bruins could be both good and bad. The bad part about these timelines are that the momentum the Bruins were carrying throughout the entirety of the regular season has been halted and they will need to rediscover that momentum when play resumes. The good part, however, is that Tuukka Rask has proven that when rested, he can be arguably the best goaltender in the league, and that showed last year in the playoffs, when he nearly carried the Bruins all the way to Stanley Cup Finals victory. Unfortunately, he ran out of gas when the Bruins needed it most in the Stanley Cup Finals, and more specifically, game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. So, it is safe to say that a break for Rask could do nothing but benefit him individually. As for the rest of the Bruins, they have what it takes to make a deep run in the playoffs whenever that may be. They just have to make sure that when the day comes and they do get to compete in the playoffs again, that they carry the momentum they had all regular season into the playoffs with them.