By Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — The NHL’s protocols for handling COVID-19 situations this year require that coaches and executives are not allowed to say much about players on their rosters who may or may not be dealing with COVID-19 in some capacity. As such, when Don Sweeney spoke to the media Monday evening, the Bruins’ general manager was light on details with what the next few days might hold.

Sweeney did not that the team is “hopeful” to practice on Wednesday and play on Thursday night, though the team will have to continue to produce negative COVID-19 tests.

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“We continue to gain knowledge and move forward over the next couple of days, with the hope of returning to a practice environment at some point in time Wednesday. But we have some hurdles to cross before we can get there,” Sweeney said.

Those hurdles, of course, involve players continuing to test negative.

“Well, testing protocols will determine whether or not we get back in full capacity or in what capacity we get to, be it on Wednesday or Thursday,” Sweeney said. “Really most of the time it revolves around testing. … We’re going to follow the medical advice and cross our fingers to a large degree that everybody remains negative, or the people that have to continue to test, and hopefully return with a full group.”

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The Bruins canceled their morning skate in Buffalo last Thursday after Sean Kuraly tested positive for COVID-19. The game Thursday night went ahead as scheduled, but on Friday, the Bruins and the NHL announced that Saturday’s game in Buffalo and Tuesday’s game in Boston had both been postponed. That news came because four more players — David Pastrnak, David Krejci, Craig Smith, and Jake DeBrusk — entered the league’s protocols for COVID-19.

Sweeney was asked if he expects any of those players to be available if a game is to be held on Thursday, but he did not have a firm answer.

“Again, subsequent testing here over the next couple of days may determine who’s available to us,” Sweeney said. “We do believe that we’ll have a couple of players that will be unavailable, and then the rest of the test results will determine who is available to participate on Thursday night, if we’re able to do so.”

Boston had been set to kick off an eight-game homestand, prior to the cancellation of Tuesday’s game vs. the Islanders. They’re now set to host the Islanders on Thursday, the Sabres on Saturday, and the Devils on Sunday and Tuesday.

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As of Monday, the Bruins sit in fourth place in the East Division, holding a three-point lead over the Flyers for the final playoff spot. Staff