By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — When news broke that four Washington Capitals players — a group that included Alex Ovechkin — had been placed on the COVID-19 protocol absences list, some folks felt the $100,000 fine and loss of players was a bit steep. After all, the violation that occurred simply involved teammates spending time together in a hotel room.READ MORE: CDC Says Fully Vaccinated People May Meet Without Masks Or Social Distancing
Bruins winger Brad Marchand, though, sees things differently.
Marchand was asked on Thursday morning, in advance of the Bruins’ home opener vs. the Flyers, if the heavy punishment levied on the Capitals was a reminder of how seriously to take the league’s mandates during the pandemic. Marchand said no such reminder was necessary.
“I think the big thing is, it’s more of a respect thing,” Marchand said. “We all want to be able to play and there’s rules put in place for a reason. And they’re not that hard to follow.”
Indeed, the league and the players’ union worked hard to agree to a set of rules that would allow the NHL season to be held throughout the continent amid a pandemic that’s yet to relent. And with players relying on other players — teammates and opponents alike — to earn their salaries this year, Marchand indicated that there’s not much wiggle room in terms of interpreting the rules.
“We all know the consequences of breaking the rules, and we all know what the rules are. They brought that on themselves,” he said of the Capitals players. “We’ve all been told very heavily what we’re allowed to do and what we’re not allowed to do.”READ MORE: Serious Crash Reported At Everett Turnpike Toll Booth In Bedford, NH
The four players — Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuzentsov, Dmitry Orlov, and Ilya Samsonov — may have reasoned that spending time in close proximity inside of a hotel room is not a significantly different scenario from spending time in close proximity inside of a locker room or on a bench. They’ll now be out for an extended period.
Capitals' Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and Ilya Samsonov are all in quarantine. Laviolette just said he believes all will miss the next four games and then under review.
— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) January 21, 2021
Nevertheless, Marchand — a player who’s built his own history of breaking some NHL rules during his career — insisted that the rules are clear.MORE NEWS: New 'Jeopardy!' Guest Host Katie Couric: 'Of Course I Was Nervous, Are You Kidding Me?'
“I think it just comes down to having respect for one another. You can easily hurt your team by breaking the rules and potentially getting [COVID-19] and having to quarantine. So yeah, it’s pretty simple to follow the rules,” Marchand said. “If you get it by chance, it is what it is. It’s almost inevitable. But if you’re going to put yourself in a situation, that’s on you.”