Bruins Notebook: Recent COVID-19 surge ‘a little nerve-wracking’ for Grzelcyk, NHL cuts 4 potential hub cities

(Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Given the times we live in, Friday’s news wasn’t all that surprising to Matt Grzelcyk and many other NHLers. 

But the league’s announcement that the Tampa Bay Lightning’s training facility would need to be shut down due to a COVID-19 outbreak — coupled with news that 11 of the over 200 players tested for Phase 2 yielded a positive result — highlights the massive challenges facing both the NHL and NHLPA when it comes to undertaking a restart in the midst of a pandemic. 

For Grzelcyk, who has returned to the ice at Warrior Ice Arena for voluntary workouts since Phase 2 was implemented, getting back on the sheet provides the first real sense of normalcy since the 2019-20 campaign was paused back in early March.

But even during that hour or so of on-ice work, the Charlestown native admitted that tuning the circumstances and challenges looming away from the rink is a goal not easily carried out in 2020.

While Grzelcyk and his teammates are still ramping up in their efforts of orchestrating another deep Cup run in the coming months, the news of additional positive tests — including a Bruins player — does undercut the blind enthusiasm that should come with the return of playoff hockey.