Before NHL get green light to resume play, one major hurdle remains for players, staff with families

(Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

The Bruins may not step foot inside TD Garden for the remainder of 2020, but David Pastrnak isn't all that concerned about Boston's pursuit of a Stanley Cup being constrained to one neutral-site rink.

For the B's winger, playing 40+ games away from the friendly confines on Causeway Street is part of the grind of a regular NHL campaign — albeit the longest road trip for most clubs usually hovers around 10-12 days.

The format involved in the NHL's approved "Return to Play" is a completely different animal — with teams in the midst of deep playoff runs expected to remain at said venues and under strict protocol for months, if necessary.

For younger players like Pastrnak, it's more of an unorthodox, extended road trip than anything else.

“For me, not as much,” Pastrnak said of how being under in a hub city 'bubble' would affect him. “I mean I don't have kids, you know? Pretty much I just have a girlfriend. I'm young. For me it's I don't have many superstitions on game day, so for me it's gonna be just like on the road. Obviously you're gonna be there for a while. So it's not going to change much for me. I'm just going to think about it like a road game."

But many other players across the league are not in the same boat as Pastrnak when it comes to the reality of potentially packing their bags and spending months on end away from their families.

Even though the NHLPA’s talks with the league have been more restrained and cordial than some other pro sports — baseball, namely — that doesn’t mean that all parties involved are out of the woods when it comes to enacting the framework “Return To Play” plan agreed to last month.