(Photo Credit: NBCSN)
By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael
When #HockeyAtHome started trending, a surreal feeling came over many die-hard fans of the game who had come to terms with the possibility that THIS may be the only way to view their favorite sport right now — through anecdotal memory lane stories (mixed with highlight reels) shared via computer from their respective team’s top players.
And with more questions and concerns still lingering about resuming play in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when information about players’ health and privacy can only be referred to as “unfit to participate,” it’s hard to imagine getting behind any form of participation on the ice — be it practice, scrimmages or eventually actual game play.
But, the Bruins — like most teams right now — are doing their best to mitigate these concerns, to answer these tough questions and to show a sense of resiliency and (Boston) pride in their passion during these challenging times.
Speaking of which, is this the right time to try and resume the season? Will the NHL be better off just scrapping the Summer play plan and allowing the world of hockey — and the actual world in general — to heal and better prepare for 2021 when hopefully the pandemic is over?
That’s a debate everyone will continue to have on a daily basis regardless of what happens for the rest of the year. So, there’s no point in me having it here in this safe (or as Dan Vladar just celebrated) save space.
What I will bring up is how positive it is to see the B’s brass and familiar faces facing up to the fact that we, as fans, want to hear their thoughts on the matter — from getting back on the ice, being concerned about their fellow teammates, what expectations they may have about resuming play and how they plan to continue to connect with their fans (who for the first time in ages won’t be able to watch them in-person play the greatest game ever).
I’ve compiled a collection of those commentaries in this article thanks to the #NHLBruins official Twitter account giving us a true “inside look” (or dare I say, a Zoom in) to the thoughts, minds and personal bubbles — both literally and figuratively — of everyone from Head Coach Bruce Cassidy to B’s GM Don Sweeney to players like Charlie McAvoy and Brad Marchand.
Their opinions, quotes, fears, hopes, expectations, concerns… they are all on refreshing display in a way we usually don’t get to see during locker room interview huddles or post-game press briefings. We’re all logging into a virtual one-on-one, if you will, that connects us even more to why hockey — and the Bruins — matter so much to so many.
And even with many not wanting to see the players, and the game, risk it all right now for a reward (The Stanley Cup) that may not be worth it, it’s still somewhat remarkable for us to keep our connections to the Black N’ Gold in this New Era of online correspondence. Just like the pandemic, we certainly hope it doesn’t last much longer.
But, like a very famous and formidable Boston Bruin once said: “understand your fears and then work to conquer them.” We, too, can conquer these COVID challenges by connecting with the B’s in a way we never were able to before. Derek Sanderson, the man behind that prescient quote, would approve… definitely continuing the fight even if the odds didn’t look good.
And since it looks like the Bruins will be continuing on, pushing forward and preparing to play hockey once again, here’s hoping they indeed beat the odds. Because, odds are, if any team can do it this year, it’s Boston!
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