Artificial crowd noise, the official soundtrack to your very own dystopian hell, appeared on the way to making its return to Boston Bruins hockey this weekend, as the Bell Centre considered the possibility of an empty-arena game for Saturday’s since-postponed Bruins-Canadiens tilt in Montreal.
That possibility took a step towards reality with the Canadiens closing the arena to fans for Thursday’s home meeting with the Flyers.
“Faced with the spiraling rise of COVID-19 cases in the region, late this afternoon the Montreal Canadiens organization received a request from Quebec public health officials to host tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers in a closed setting with no fans in attendance at the Bell Centre,” the Canadiens announced in a statement. “We have accepted this request in order to help ensure the safety and security of our fans and fellow citizens throughout our community.”
Thurday’s statement came with a postponement of Saturday’s Bruins-Canadiens on Friday as noted, so it’s worth wondering if that empty-arena possibility is still on the table should the NHL find a workable date between the two Original Six rivals in the coming days or weeks.
The Bruins have not played in an empty arena since a three-game series in Buffalo back in Apr. 2021.
There was plenty of concern for the Bruins ahead of their trip to Canada, too, as a positive test over the border could put the Bruins in a situation where their players are stuck quarantining in Canada through the holidays. (It sounds like any player or staffer who tests positive in Canada could drive back to Boston, but it’s still an absolute mess nobody wants to go through.)
As of right now, it’s still game on between the Bruins and Senators in Ottawa on Sunday night. The Senators, as of right now, are operating at 50 percent capacity.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.