Bruce Cassidy

Bruins-Flyers stream
Getty Images

Bruins-Flyers stream: NHL Return to Play round-robin game

Leave a comment

NBCSN’s coverage of the NHL’s Return to Play continues with Sunday’s round-robin matchup between the Bruins and Flyers. Coverage begins at 3 p.m. ET on NBC. Watch the Bruins-Flyers stream on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

Although the Bruins won the Presidents’ Trophy with the best record in the NHL, Philly will have a chance of earning the No. 1 seed in the East due to the Round Robin format. The Bruins and Flyers will meet in their first Round Robin games of the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers in what will be both franchises first official game since mid-March.

The Bruins and Flyers last met on March 10, which also turned out to be the final regular season game of the 2019-20 campaign for both clubs. Boston won 2-0, snapping Philly’s 9-game win streak and preventing them from taking over first place in the Metro Division. The Bruins became the only team to reach 100 points on the season.

Bruins star forward David Pastrnak broke the silence on Tuesday in Toronto about why he had not been skating with the team during training camp. Pasta was supposed to quarantine for 14 days after initially returning to the US from the Czech Republic, where he spent time while the season was paused. Yet he and teammate Ondrej Kase skated with a group of other hockey players in Malden, MA prior to the end of their initial quarantine, breaking with the NHL’s Phase 2 protocol and forcing them to quarantine for another 14 days.

Philly shook off the rust in their exhibition match against Pittsburgh on Tuesday, taking down their inter-state rival 3-2 (OT) in Toronto. The Flyers gave up the first goal of the game, before Sean Couturier and Kevin Hayes scored to give Philly the lead. Jason Zucker tied the game with under 4 minutes remaining in the 3rd to send the match to OT, where Scott Laughton scored on a nice feed from Travis Konecny to pick up the unofficial win.

WHAT: Boston Bruins vs. Philadelphia Flyers
WHERE: Scotiabank Arena – Toronto
WHEN: Sunday, August 2, 3 p.m. ET
TV: NBC
ON THE CALL: John Forslund, Mike Milbury, Brian Boucher
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Bruins-Flyers stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

Eastern Conference round-robin schedule

Sunday, Aug. 2: Flyers vs. Bruins, 3 p.m. ET – NBC (Livestream)
Monday, Aug. 3:
Capitals vs. Lightning, 4 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Wednesday, Aug. 5:
Lightning vs. Bruins, 4 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Thursday, Aug. 6:
Capitals vs. Flyers, TBD
Saturday, Aug. 8: Flyers vs. Lightning, TBD
Sunday, Aug. 9:
Bruins vs. Capitals, TBD

You can watch all the NHL playoff streams on the NBC Sports app.

MORE:
2020 NHL Stanley Cup Qualifiers schedule

NHL Bubble Wrap: Life during Return to Play; Updates on Crosby, others

1 Comment

As the NHL training camp news shifts to playoff bubble news, the surroundings change, but some of the main considerations remain the same. For instance: we’re getting updates on the likes of Sidney Crosby, Dougie Hamilton, and David Pastrnak during this edition of the NHL Bubble Wrap.

Glimpses of life in the NHL Bubble: Food and games seem pretty solid

Confession: I was kind of crossing my fingers for the NHL Bubble food memes.

After all, NBA people had a field day with this one:

To my chagrin, and to more grins for NHL players, it seems like things are pretty top notch so far:

Mmmm, breakfast.

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy believes that the hub experience will be tight-knit, and feel like a “permanent road trip.”

While that brings up images of “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles,” it sounds like there will mainly be video games and … Settlers of Catan?

You might be able to kill all the time between Monday and the start of exhibition games merely exploring the details of NHL Bubble life.

(Do you have “The Muffin Man” in your head now, too?)

[2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers schedule / NHL on NBC TV schedule]

Injury updates for Crosby, Pastrnak, and more

Moving on from the breakfast (which may occasionally include grits) to the nitty-gritty:

  • Mostly good news for Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. Crosby was a “full participant” in Monday’s practice. That said, coach Mike Sullivan said the team will decide if Crosby will play in the Flyers exhibition on Tuesday. Does that make it (drumroll please?) a game-time decision? (That game airs at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN on Tuesday.)
  • Let’s keep piling on the happy stuff like ingredients into an omelette. David Pastrnak ranked as a full participant in Bruins practice. He even got up to some rascal behavior. Things aren’t as clear for fellow Bruins winger Ondrej Kase, though.
  • The Hurricanes still consider Dougie Hamilton “unfit to play.” Not great for a defenseman who put up Norris-level numbers, although reports indicate the injury at least isn’t related to his broken fibula from earlier in 2019-20. Here’s some comic relief for Hurricanes fans:

More on 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers, NHL Return to Play series:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

NHL announces zero positive COVID-19 tests during second week of training camp

1 Comment

 

The NHL announced zero positive COVID-19 results among the 800 players tested during the second week of formal training camps. With that in mind, the NHL notes two positive COVID-19 tests over two weeks of training camp.

This optimistic NHL news comes at a time when people are wondering about the viability of various sports’ return-to-play plans. Most obviously, MLB is going through a crisis after what looks like a COVID-19 outbreak for the Miami Marlins.

As Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy notes, the NHL’s return-to-play bubble could help reduce the odds of an outbreak.

Granted, that doesn’t mean the NHL is immune to experiencing a rash of COVID-19 cases in similar ways to MLB. But it’s reasonable to believe that more travel could create more chances for players and staff to be exposed to COVID-19.

Being that NHL teams traveled to playoff hubs in Edmonton and Toronto during the weekend, expect this to be another pivotal moment as the league tries to hold the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers.

[2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers schedule / NHL on NBC TV schedule]

More on NHL COVID-19 testing (positive tests or otherwise) during Return to Play

Let’s circle back to some of those COVID-19 testing numbers.

Again, during the two weeks of NHL training camp, the league only became aware of two positive tests. The NHL revealed that 6,874 COVID-19 tests were administered.

Previously, the NHL announced that they were aware of 43 positive COVID-19 results during Phase 2 of the Return to Play. That process (which involved skating in small groups at team facilities) began on June 8.

So, basically, the NHL has become aware of 45 positive COVID-19 test results since June 8. Since June 8, the NHL announced about 13,000 COVID-19 tests have been administered.

For those who believe this boils down to the NHL beating its chest about its process, note that the league’s made weekly COVID-19 testing announcements.

And it’s still fair to wonder about this entire process, even if it all results in a fairly friction-less awarding of the 2020 Stanley Cup. After all, the sheer volume of COVID-19 testing could end up astonishing. In its own announcement, the NHL noted daily tests for all 24 teams, which include 52 people (players and staff) apiece. That translates to 1,248 COVID-19 tests per day, and teams won’t be eliminated from the process for a while.

Can the NHL pull this Return to Play off and award the 2020 Stanley Cup? We’ll see.

Should the NHL go through with this? That’s a debate that could go on for a long time. And there’s no guarantee that other COVID-19 testing results will seem as positive for the NHL as the latest one.

(But, yes, this inspires at least temporary optimism that the NHL bubble might have a shot.)

More on NHL return to play, CBA extension, COVID-19:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Neely questions Pastrnak, Kase, who may not practice with Bruins until Toronto

Cam Neely told media members that his “best guess” is that David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase won’t practice with the Bruins until the team reaches the Toronto hub city. Maybe most interestingly, Neely criticized some of the decisions Pastrnak and Kase made as the Bruins continue the NHL Return to Play process.

Limited opportunities to shake off rust

Now, it’s possible that Pastrnak and Kase might be able to get a Bruins practice in before the team plans on traveling to Toronto on (Sunday) July 26. It’s just that, like with many parts of this process, things are up in the air.

“It’s hard to say right now,” Neely said, via NBC Sports Boston. “My best guess would be [they will practice] in Toronto. There are hopes that it will be before we leave [Boston], but my best guess is Toronto.”

Pastrnak hasn’t gotten much time in with the Bruins, while Kase hasn’t practiced with them in training camp yet. To state the obvious: that’s far from ideal.

Brad Marchand recently said that “it doesn’t take long for chemistry to bounce back” for Marchand, Pastrnak, and Patrice Bergeron. And that’s probably true.

But what about Kase?

The speedy winger only managed to suit up for six Bruins games after being traded from the Ducks. During that time, Kase rarely got up to speed, as he failed to score a goal and only recorded a single assist. If anyone could have benefited from more time getting acclimated with still-new Bruins teammates, it was Kase.

Neely disappointed with Pastrnak and Kase; Quick look at Bruins schedule

You can chalk up some of these issues to “the nature of the beast.” We live in tumultuous times amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s not always possible for best-laid plans to actually pan out.

That doesn’t mean Neely isn’t disappointed with Kase and Pastrnak, who may have had a smoother transition to Bruins team activities if they arrived in Boston earlier.

Kase and Pastrnak don’t rank as the Bruins only headaches during training camp. Key players like Charlie McAvoy also missed time, while Tuukka Rask did his best to shake off concerns about a fractured finger.

Yet in the cases of Kase and Pastrnak, the Bruins seem a little steamed that this is a headache that maybe could have been controlled. It will be interesting to see if any hard feelings hold over, or if this is something that the Bruins move on from.

With some drama brewing, it might be helpful to ponder the upcoming Return to Play schedule for the Bruins, leading into the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers:

Rest of this week: Bruins squeeze in practices, wrap up training camp as best they can.

July 26: Bruins plan on arriving in Toronto hub city. Players need multiple negative COVID-19 tests to join the team on charter planes, so we’ll see if the Bruins and other teams experience disruptions there.

July 30: Bruins face Blue Jackets in an exhibition game (7 p.m. ET)

Aug. 2: Round Robin game versus Flyers (NBC, 3 p.m. ET)

Aug. 5: Round Robin game against Lightning (NBCSN, 4 p.m. ET)

Aug. 9: Final Round Robin game versus Capitals (time, network to be determined).

[Full 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers schedule; How to watch on NBCSN, NBC, and USA Network]

Kase and Pastrnak setbacks shouldn’t be too disruptive to Bruins overall

In the framework of this week, it’s rotten that Pastrnak and Kase might not practice with the Bruins.

Overall, though? Between that exhibition game and the three Round Robin contests, the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers open up space for Pastrnak, Kase, and others to shake off the rust. It may not be ideal, but it’s probably nothing to get too bent out of shape about.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Cassidy, Tortorella, Vigneault are 2019-20 Jack Adams Award finalists

Bruce Cassidy of the Bruins, John Tortorella of the Blue Jackets, and Alain Vigneault of the Flyers have been named finalists for the 2019-20 Jack Adams Award, given to the head coach who has “contributed the most to his team’s success.”

All three head coaches aren’t strangers to being a finalist for the Jack Adams. This is Cassidy’s second time in the last three seasons in the top three, while Tortorella and Vigneault have been honored five times. Tortorella has won it twice (2003-04 and 2016-17), while Vigneault took home the award in 2006-07.

Barry Trotz of the Islanders was last season’s winner.

The NHL Broadcasters’ Association vote, with the winner announced during the conference finals.

[2020 NHL Stanley Cup Qualifiers schedule]

The case for Bruce Cassidy: At the time of the March NHL pause Cassidy’s Bruins had the most points (100) and highest points percentage (.714) in the league. That success resulted in a Presidents’ Trophy for the franchise. Boston led the NHL in wins with 44 and hit the 40-win mark for the seventh straight season. Special teams played a big role in another strong year as the Bruins boasted the second-best power play (25.2%) and third-best penalty kill (84.3%). A win would make Cassidy the fourth coach in franchise history to win the award following Don Cherry (1975-76), Pat Burns (1997-98) and Claude Julien (2008-09).

The case for John Tortorella: Despite losing their two biggest stars in free agency, Tortorella’s Blue Jackets didn’t allow that to hold them back. Columbus surprised many and put themselves in position to be part of the NHL’s expanded Return to Play plan. During their final 41 games the Blue Jackets had two separate double-digit point streaks to keep them in the postseason mix. He’s the only coach in franchise history to have won the Jack Adams.

The case for Alain Vigneault: In his first season with the Flyers, Vigneault led them to a .645 points percentage at the time of the March pause and put them among the Eastern Conference’s top four seeds. A nine-game winning streak in mid-February help push them up the standings. He would become the fifth coach in franchise history to win the Jack Adams after Fred Shero (1973-74), Pat Quinn (1979-80), Mike Keenan (1984-85) and Bill Barber (2000-01).

NHL AWARD FINALISTS
Ted Lindsay Award: Leon Draisaitl, Nathan MacKinnon, Artemi Panarin
Calder Trophy: Quinn Hughes, Cale Makar, Dominik Kubalik

• Masterton Trophy: Stephen Johns, Oskar Lindblom, Bobby Ryan
• Lady Byng Trophy: Auston Matthews, Nathan MacKinnon, Ryan O'Reilly
Vezina Trophy: Connor Hellebuyck, Tuukka Rask, Andrei Vasilevskiy

Norris Trophy: John Carlson, Victor Hedman, Roman Josi
Selke Trophy: Patrice Bergeron, Sean Couturier, Ryan O’Reilly
Hart Trophy: Leon Draisaitl, Nathan MacKinnon, Artemi Panarin

————

Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.