What Bruins Fans Should Know About NHL’s 2020-21 Season Announcement

Get excited, Bruins fans

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December 20, 2020

Hockey is back, which means, obviously, Boston Bruins hockey is back.

It’s very exciting news, but this season promises to be unusual. There is some divisional realignment going on, and while the playoff format is traditional, the path to the conference finals is not. Of course, there’s the fact that this season will be played during a global pandemic.

So, here is some info Bruins fans should probably know.

— With the division realignment, the Bruins have a whole crop of new teams in their division — which will be called the “East” division.

The teams in the division in addition to the Bruins are: the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

It’s a 56-game season, and teams only will play teams within their division. That means the Bruins will play each of the above teams eight times each.

— Four teams from each division will make the postseason. The top seed in the division plays the fourth seed, and the second plays the third in the first round.

The winners move on to the conference semifinal, where they’ll face each other. The only way teams move on to the conference final is by playing through their division.

That also means that the first time teams are scheduled to play a squad not in their division all season is the penultimate round of the playoffs.

— The regular season is scheduled to begin Jan. 13, though the schedule hasn’t been released just yet (the league says that’ll happen in the coming days).

There is a very real possibility the Bruins begin the season without their top two wingers, as Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak are recovering from surgeries they underwent in mid-September.

Marchand’s recovery timeline was roughly four months, so it theoretically is possible he could be ready in time for the opener, but by no means a guarantee. Pastrnak’s timeline was about five months, so he all but certainly won’t be ready until well into the season.

— The league did not officially announce what dates training camp would start, but it had been reported for a while that teams who went to the bubble over the summer would begin camp Jan. 3.

The Bruins fall into that category, meaning camp officially will begin for them shortly after the start of the new year.

Players who have done the necessary quarantine already have access to Warrior Ice Arena. Among the players who are confirmed to be back include new winger Craig Smith, defenseman Brandon Carlo and top prospect Jack Studnicka. Surely, the list is longer.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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