Brad Marchand, Craig Smith enter COVID protocols for Bruins

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 01: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins in action against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on February 01, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 01: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins in action against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on February 01, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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Two members of the Boston Bruins have entered COVID protocols, as Brad Marchand and Craig Smith were announced as needing to quarantine for 10 days in self-isolation.

The news comes after the Calgary Flames, who the Bruins played Saturday night, are having COVID problems of their own. With multiple players in protocols, the Flames have postponed two games.

With the two Bruins in quarantine, they will miss Boston’s next six games. That means a third of the Bruins top-six is unavailable for the near future.

This might just be the beginning of a breakout in the Boston locker room. Marchand participating at morning skate today ahead of the Bruins’ matchup with the Vegas Golden Knights before finding out he was being placed in protocols.

These next six games will really test the Bruins with Marchand and Smith out

One, as always, you hope that Marchand and Smith are safe and healthy. Their heath and well-being come before hockey always.

That said, the Bruins are in a tough spot now for their next six games. They already dealt with Marchand being out for three games when he was suspended for slew-footing Vancouver Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The Bruins went 1-1-1 without Marchand in the lineup.

Looking ahead, the Bruins have tonight’s game against the Golden Knights, then a three-game road trip where they play the New York Islanders (who are dealing with their own COVID situation), Montreal Canadians and Ottawa Senators. Boston then comes back home to play the Carolina Hurricanes and the Colorado Avalanche.

In terms of difficulty, the first part of that stretch isn’t really challenging. All three of those away games come against the three worst teams in the Eastern Conference right now. The two home games to end that six-game stretch will certainly be difficult.

That is, it’s easy on paper with the roster the Bruins have. But what will the personnel be that is available? We will see in the next day or two how bad the situation is. The Bruins are just getting Bruce Cassidy back on the bench from his stint with COVID. If it’s a bad enough situation, the NHL could postpone some games for the Bruins.

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The NHL is reaching a tough point in the season, with three teams already having games postponed so far this season and seemingly more and more cases popping up in the league. Here’s to hoping for not a full pause on hockey, but more importantly, the health of all the players.