Don Sweeney discusses Bruins' positive COVID-19 test, 'learning' through return process

Scott McLaughlin
June 12, 2020 - 1:27 pm
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The Bruins announced Friday that one of their players tested positive for COVID-19, but that the same player has undergone two subsequent tests that have come back negative.

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General manager Don Sweeney, while not getting into too many specifics, discussed some of the details around testing and protocols at this stage during a Zoom call with reporters Friday afternoon.

Sweeney said that the player who tested positive had not returned to Warrior Ice Arena for voluntary limited workouts yet, and won't do so until he completes his quarantine period and tests negative at the end of that period next week. The player was asymptomatic at the time of the positive test and has remained asymptomatic.

Sweeney said that regular testing is a requirement and that it will ramp up to daily testing for all players once full training camp starts. He said that subsequent tests after a positive test are also a requirement -- in this case, two subsequent tests have already come back negative.

Sweeney said that some players are still working their way back to Boston and going through protocols before getting back on the ice, which is fine given that Phase 2 just started this week and everything is voluntary for now. He said the expectation is that everyone on the roster, with the exception of Kevan Miller (who is recovering from another knee surgery he underwent in March), will be able to return and be cleared to play.

"I think everybody's learning, with how we properly interact and distance and react to the original test results we're seeing," Sweeney said of this return process. "We'll be testing daily when we get to the later stages. ... This phase is a voluntary phase, but I think we're learning and we'll continue to learn throughout this as the players go through it and really everybody interacts."

Here are some other notes from Sweeney's call:

- Sweeney said the team hasn't been given a hard number yet for how many players they'll be allowed to have in training camp and on the roster once games resume, but that he's heard a ballpark range and that it's more than the number of players a team would usually carry on the roster.

- Sweeney said he and the team's coaching and scouting staffs have been working throughout this period both to prepare for what their own team might look like in terms of roster composition and line combinations and for what to expect from their opponents (the Lightning, Capitals and Flyers) in the round-robin seeding tournament.

- Sweeney said he applauds and encourages the efforts of players like Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara who have spoken up and gotten involved in the wake of the George Floyd murder and protests against racial injustice. "I applaud each and every player and their individual efforts and support them. If our players want to be more socially available to comment and voice their opinions and, in Zdeno's case, support a protest and march, I applaud their efforts. It's a testament to their leadership, not as hockey players, but as human beings."

- Sweeney said he hasn't really had any conversations with the Bruins' pending free agents recently, noting that the league's uncertain salary cap situation has made it tough to make any concrete plans. He said he and his staff have talked internally and planned for different situations, though.

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Related: Watch: Bruins return to ice for first day of limited workouts