The NHL is slowly working toward its return to games, with some players now back on the ice for voluntary limited workouts and a date of July 10 set for the start of full training camps, but there are still some important questions that remain.
One of those is whether players’ families will be allowed to join them in the hub cities that teams will be reporting to for the playoffs. Appearing on Ordway, Merloni and Fauria as Tuesday’s mystery guest, Bruins center David Krejci said that is his “big question.”
“Obviously I want to play, but I have a family,” Krejci said. “I have two kids. My big question is, if we go to one of those hub cities, am I not going to be able to see my family, my two little kids, for two and a half, three months if we go all the way, which hopefully we will?
“It's something that's been talked about through the (NHLPA),” Moore said on a Zoom call with reporters. “It's a real concern for a lot of guys. You'd hate for something to happen and your family couldn't join you. Obviously everyone's health and safety is a priority right now. We hope somehow they could join us, but if not, this is a sacrifice that no one really saw coming. It's an opportunity to go compete for a Stanley Cup. You just hope everything will be good at home. God forbid something were to happen. The Bruins have been unbelievable in terms of making sure that not just players, but families too are well accounted for medically. You have full faith in them and the systems in place, and heaven forbid something did happen, they would be taken care of.”
There have been reports around other leagues of players who may choose not to play if they have to be away from their families that long. While there seemingly hasn’t been as much talk like that across the NHL, Krejci said he’s sure there are players who feel that way.
“I’m sure there’s guys like that out there,” Krejci said. “I’m not saying that I like everything that’s been agreed to or what is in talks, because obviously the Phase 4, which means resuming of the playoffs, we haven’t gotten that far. But as a father, who wants to be away from their family more than a week at a time? So if it’s going to be two to three months, I don’t like it. But I’m kind of just playing it day-by-day and we’ll see what’s going to happen.”
Bruins players could have something else to dislike in the round-robin tournament that will determine top-four seeding and potentially take away the No. 1 seed the Bruins were on the verge of clinching. Krejci said he’s not too worked up about that, though, and that the bigger picture of just getting hockey back is more important.
“If you look at the big picture, I think the biggest thing is trying to get sports back and give people something to cheer for, get excited, wake up in the morning and look forward to,” Krejci said. “I think that’s the biggest thing right now. Yeah, it might be a little unfair for us being the No. 1 seed, but it is what it is. I guess you have to look at the big picture and just give people something to get excited about.”
Krejci also said the round-robin tournament should help the Bruins get ready for the start of the real playoffs that will follow.
“Being in the round-robin against the top division teams, the top two in each division, it helps because you’re playing teams that are top teams,” he said. “Tampa, Philly and Washington, those are really good teams. Three games, I think it’s enough to play good, quality three games and then move into the first round. If it happens, hopefully it happens, we’re going to go into it trying to prepare for playoff hockey. It’s going to be a little different not playing in three or four months, but that’s what we’ve got.”