The world has been hit with a coronavirus pandemic. It has stopped sports all the way from youth levels to the pros. Health is the number one priority of the public and sports are secondary to everyday life.
On March 12, National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman did the right thing and suspended the league in its tracks. It was a no-brainer decision, one that is in the best interest of not only the players but the public as a whole. When two NBA players tested positive for the coronavirus and suspended their season, the NHL had to do the same. Especially since a lot of NHL and NBA teams share the same arenas.
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With the league stopped and planning on returning at some point, hopefully, this time off will help players heal any injuries they have. It is also a good time for those who played in most of their teams’ games time to rest their bodies for what they hope will be a playoff run into the summer. Below are five players on the Boston Bruins that could benefit from the break in play.
5. Zdeno Chara
Playing a Game 7 in last year’s Stanley Cup Final into mid-June has not seemed to affect the 42-year-old captain. This season he has played in 68 games with five goals and nine assists. Even more impressive, he has a plus-26.
Chara has played a lot of hockey in his 22-year career. He has played in 1,553 regular-season games and 182 career playoff games. He is still a big physical presence on the Bruins’ blue line and has been paired with Charlie McAvoy on the first defensive pairing. Any rest and time off can do him some good.
4. Charlie Coyle
Acquired from the Minnesota Wild a year ago, he played a big role in the Bruins run to the Stanley Cup Final. This season, he has played in all 70 games with 16 goals and 21 assists. He also has a plus-nine as the third-line center.
Coyle has played many roles for the Bruins in 2019-20. He has filled in as a second-line right wing as well as centering the third line. He is on the second power-play unit but has recently been bumped up to the top unit by coach Bruce Cassidy. Playing hockey until mid-June last season and every game this season, he could use the rest.
3. Patrice Bergeron
Bergeron has missed nine games this season, but at 34 years old, he could also benefit from the league pausing the season. This year centering the Bruins top line, he has 31 goals and 25 assists with a plus-23.
In his 14th year in a Bruins uniform, Bergeron has played a big role on the NHL’s second-ranked power play. He has 11 power-play goals and 9 assists. He also spends time on the penalty kill. Logging just over 21 minutes a night of ice time, he is a vital part of the team going forward.
2. Brad Marchand
Marchand has played in all 70 games this season, but that streak nearly came to an end on March 3 in Tampa Bay due to an illness. He ended up playing after missing the morning skate and scored a goal in the Bruins 2-1 victory.
Marchand has played a major role on the Bruins’ top line at left wing. He has 28 goals, but his 59 assists this season have him four behind his career-high of 63 he had last season. He has five power-play goals and 22 assists on the Bruins top unit. He has tallied five game-winning goals and is one of their top penalty killers.
Marchand played in all 24 playoff games a year ago on top of 79 regular-season games. Rest will do him good if the league can come back and the Bruins are able to make another deep playoff push.
1. David Pastrnak
Pastrnak is having a career year. It would have been tough to give one of the leagues top goalscorers a night off, but with the recent decision by the league, he gets it.
Closing in on 100 points, Pastrnak is in the running for the Hart Trophy. He has played in all 70 games and has 48 goals and 47 assists on the top line with Bergeron and Marchand. He has 19 power-play goals with 16 assists. He also has a career-high 10 game-winning goals and is just two goals from joining the Bruins’ 50-goal club.
With three players playing in all 70 games this year and another playing in 68 games at 42 years old, Boston’s big-name players could benefit from time off during the league pause. With that said, the health and welfare of everyone are more important right now than the game of hockey.