Will NHL players follow all the rules in bubble? Andrew Raycroft on D&K explains why he says yes

Scott McLaughlin
July 09, 2020 - 12:20 pm

As NBA players begin to roll into their Orlando bubble and NHL teams prepare to do the same with their Toronto and Edmonton hubs in a couple weeks, one big question is whether players will actually follow all the rules and protocols and avoid venturing outside the bubble.

Appearing on Dale and Keefe Thursday, former Bruins goalie and current NESN analyst Andrew Raycroft explained why he doesn't think rule-breaking will be an issue for the NHL. (Listen to the full interview here.)

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"I don't think it's as hard as we assume," Raycroft said. "I think there's a lot of accountability with each team. You look at the best teams, you take the Bruins, their accountability is as good as anyone in pro sports. Zdeno Chara's not going to the nightclub in Toronto in the next few weeks, I can promise you that. And I think everyone else is going to follow in behind that. I also think because they're in Canada, it gives them a little bit of opportunity to get out still. I know in Edmonton they're shutting down a golf course for the guys.

"So it's not necessarily they have to be in the hotel room or at the rink. They're going to have options being up there that don't put them at risk of getting coronavirus. On top of that, I think the big, big thing that I look at is that 16 of these 24 teams are going to be out of that bubble within four weeks. That's a big difference even looking at the NBA, where they're playing eight regular-season games before they even get to playoffs. They're going to be required to be there a little bit longer. You look at the fact you're going to have those 16 teams, which turns out to be over 300 guys, out of there within a few weeks, I think that reduces the risk as well."

Raycroft also pointed out that if someone does break the rules and goes out and winds up bringing COVID-19 back to their team and back to the bubble, that player is going to have a hard time looking his teammates and other players in the eye if their actions wind up forcing their team or the entire league to shut things down.

"It's going to be very difficult for that individual player or those individual players to look not only the guys on their team, but the entire league in the eye and the entire union," Raycroft said. "There's a lot of people making sacrifices at this point to make this happen, and you don't want to be that guy. You don't want to be that guy. I think that's what's going to make it work out, because guys are going to feel that pressure to not be that guy.

"Again, you go to that word 'accountability' and you look at the teams that have won Stanley Cups in the last 10 years and the captains, Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby and these guys, there's a lot of accountability in hockey. The guys who understand that's what it takes to win will do even better in this situation. I don't see guys going out and risking the entire league going under and having their name be the one dragged through the mud for it."

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