On Wednesday, Boston Bruins president Cam Neely told reporters on Wednesday he’s “a little disappointed” about the league’s round-robin format for the 2020 NHL playoffs.
On Thursday, speaking to reporters via Zoom, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said that while the format isn’t perfect, it might be the best possible set up given the circumstances.
“I think that we heard about the possible formats, different options and etc.,” Chara said. “Like I said, it’s not going to be perfect. I think you have to realize that any time you have this kind of unexpected stoppage with teams being on different points of their peaks of the season and different amount of games, you have to come up with some sort of solution and like I said, people involved were almost daily talking to player reps, players, different kind of advisers to come up with the best possible solution.
“I think at this point, what we see, it’s probably the best.”
Chara credited the NHL Players Association for working hard to find a solution.
“I think the Players’ Association with the player’s representative worked extremely hard to get to this point and come up with something that hopefully will be entertaining and exciting, and obviously fans will enjoy it I’m sure,” Chara said. “But yeah, I think it’s never a perfect scenario. It’s not going to be set in stone as you would have after an 82-game regular season, so I think you have to give these guys a lot of credit because they have worked extremely hard.”
Before the shutdown, the Bruins had an eight-point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Instead of simply entering the postseason as the top overall seed, the Bruins will now face the Lightning, Capitals and Flyers in a round-robin tournament to determine how the teams are seeded from 1-4. All are guaranteed to make the postseason.
Neely told reporters he feels the round-robin tournament is a little unfair to the Bruins, given their regular-season performance.
“Obviously, a little disappointed, with what the team was able to accomplish the first 70 games and then the point spread we had between not only the teams in the league but also the teams in our division and conference,” Neely said on a Zoom call. “To maybe have three games dictate where we fall in the conference standings is somewhat disappointing. The fact remains, these are uncharted times for everybody and we’re just hoping we can get back on the ice and play meaningful hockey games.”
Neely added that the Bruins will be ready.
“Nothing’s a guarantee, as we all know, but I think our guys recognize that we had a legitimate chance to do well and have a deep run in the playoffs,” Neely said. “Obviously, our goal all along is to win the Stanley Cup. That goal is not going to change. From what I understand talking to some of the guys, they’re anxious and excited.
“Obviously, they still have some questions and concerns about how this is all going to play out but everybody still wants to play hockey.”