BOSTON (CBS) — The Bruins were on a mission in 2020, eager to erase the disappointing end to last season by delivering a Stanley Cup title to Boston. They were on their way to achieving that goal in the regular season, leading the NHL with 100 points and 44 wins.
Then, the NHL came to a screeching halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, and now no one knows when play will resume. The league is exploring every option to return to action, but it remains unclear how they’ll finish the 2019-20 campaign.
With roughly a dozen regular season games remaining before the playoffs, there’s a chance the league could jump straight to the postseason. That may upset some of the teams that were fighting for a spot in the postseason when the season was put on pause, so the NHL is also exploring the option of having a play-in tournament for those squads. Any return would likely come without fans in attendance.
And with all the uncertainty, there remains the grim possibility that the 2019-20 season just comes to an end. The Bruins could be crowed the champs if that’s the case, but that would feel kinda sorta cheap.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Wednesday, and said he just hopes his team gets the opportunity to finish what was a promising season.
“I’m just hopeful we get a chance to play, to be honest with you,” said Cassidy. “Because I love our chances no matter how it shakes out.”
The NHL could also expand the playoffs, with as many as 24 teams making it into the tournament. Cassidy isn’t keen on that idea, and would like to see the usual format for the postseason.
“From our position, I’d rather it just be 16 teams, four rounds, four out of seven,” he said. “That’s the integrity of the playoffs. It’s always been that way.”
Cassidy said they’ve been told play likely won’t resume until the end of the summer, but there are a lot of factors with the spread of the virus that will go into the decision to return.
But whenever the puck drops again in the NHL, Cassidy is confident his Bruins will be ready to go out and compete again.
“I think we’re gonna be ready no matter what the scenario,” he said. “Our guys know what’s at stake.”