Charlie Coyle

Bruins' Charlie Coyle held out after 'inconclusive' COVID-19 test, tested negative subsequently

Bruins' Charlie Coyle held out after 'inconclusive' COVID-19 test, tested negative subsequently

The bad news was that a whopping seven Bruins players were held off the ice on Saturday and deemed “unfit to participate” while something was clearly afoot with the COVID-19 testing.

The good news is that we may now have an idea of what exactly happened with at least some of the new “unfit to participate” players that included core B’s group guys like Torey Krug, Charlie Coyle, David Krejci, Chris Wagner and Tuukka Rask among others.

Coyle’s agent, Bob Norton, confirmed to NBC Sports Boston that Coyle received an “inconclusive test result” for COVID-19 and was held out of Saturday’s practice for precautionary reasons.

“First test was inconclusive so held him off the ice in an abundance of caution,” said Norton. “He then tested negative in a follow-up test. He’s fine.”

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Bruins GM Don Sweeney indicated that a group of B’s players that didn’t skate on Saturday took the ice on Sunday and it’s believed that Coyle was among that group after testing negative for COVID-19 in a follow-up test. This is going to be the new normal for teams across the NHL in Phases 3 or 4 as the testing ramps up to a daily basis and any delays, inconclusive tests of false positives could lead to unexpected absences from the ice. It’s something that’s going to force NHL coaching staffs to be agile about their practice plans and hopeful that things work out quickly for any players caught up in testing snafus.

“We have to be flexible and be able to change what we intended to because that's what we have to do," said Don Sweeney, during a Sunday morning Zoom call with reporters. "We have players on the ice today and hopefully we'll have a full group tomorrow. Test results come back on a daily basis and we see who is available to practice and then we move forward. The best laid plans sometimes go astray and we have to be able to move forward. Our coaches understand that now.”

Bruins' Charlie Coyle's message to Boston is what we all need to hear right now

Bruins' Charlie Coyle's message to Boston is what we all need to hear right now

Charlie Coyle wasn’t a member of the Boston Bruins in 2013 when the B’s were the first team to play a pro sports game in Boston following the marathon bombings or when they went on to push all the way to the Stanley Cup Final against the Blackhawks.

In fact, Coyle was finishing up his rookie year with the Minnesota Wild once the compacted regular season got going following the half-season lockout. Still, the native of East Weymouth, Mass., now 28, remembers watching the pivotal, symbolic role that the Bruins played from afar.

Coyle knows first-hand about Boston banding together in times of daunting difficulty and challenge because, when it’s all said and done, he is one of us.

Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

That’s what Coyle is witnessing right now as the coronavirus outbreak has pushed the community around Boston into new challenges with social distancing and self-quarantine requirements. There are helpers everywhere looking to do things for those in need, whether it’s picking up groceries for older, at-risk folks or police and firefighters paying tribute to courageous hospital workers who are putting their lives on the line.

Maybe it’s because we’ve all been through something traumatic in the recent past with the marathon bombings in the rear-view mirror, but people around Boston are again looking, first and foremost, to help and then shine a light on those first responders, medical personnel, grocery store workers, truck drivers, pharmacists, nursing home caretakers and others risking everything for our safety.

“I remember that day [of the bombings, April 15, 2013] and everybody affected by it. It was such a crazy time. Really hard times. To see everybody come together made you very proud to be from this area, to be from Boston,” said Coyle. “All the people and Boston Strong, and that whole aspect make you want to keep living by that [motto]. What we’re going through now is another obstacle that we all have to come together to do our part and get past this to overcome it.

“In these hard times, it helps bring everybody together working toward a common goal. We all know what that is right now. I’d love to get back to our normal lives, and for me, that’s playing hockey and doing something I love to do. I know everybody else it’s the same thing. People are getting laid off from their jobs and they are scratching and clawing to provide for themselves and their families. You don’t want to see that happen. But that’s where we’re at right now, so [it’s about] everybody helping each other. You see a lot of it right now. There’s a lot of great people that are doing their part to help out. You see everybody coming together in these tough times. It says a lot about where we’re all from and about Boston as a whole.”

It sure does, Charlie.

It’s amazing that the marathon bombings took place seven years ago today. Certainly, there are wounds that are never going to heal for the permanently maimed victims situated near the finish line and for the five poor souls who ultimately lost their lives and their families. 

Still, the seven years have also been a testament to how Boston pushed through the tragedy, helped each other heal and ultimately made us even stronger and more resilient.

Let's hope Coyle’s inspiring words will become prophetic and the people of Boston will reach new heights with our courage, selflessness and our ability to help each other out while the coronavirus does damage to our community’s health, and just as importantly, hits our economy that supports everybody in the region. 

We know it’s in us and we know that we rise to the challenge when tough times arise. These might be the toughest that we’ve ever faced whether we’re Bruins players, sportswriters, retail workers or small business owners that have been stunned the past month.

But whether your name is Coyle, Haggerty or anything in between in this wonderful Commonwealth, one thing is important to remember as things seemingly get tougher each day: We’re all in this together and we’re all going to get through this together.


Charlie Coyle admits 'bizarre' idea of playing without fans might be a reality

Charlie Coyle admits 'bizarre' idea of playing without fans might be a reality

It’s always been a distinct possibility that the NHL was going to eventually turn to playing in empty arenas due to the circumstances around the coronavirus outbreak.

The Bruins and San Jose Sharks were looking at the possibility of playing in an empty SAP Center back in early March prior to the NHL regular season was quickly put on pause, and it looks like that may be the only way that professional sports can get back to work in the near term.

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The country’s most renowned infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, mentioned the possibility in a Snapchat interview on Wednesday while discussing the circumstances behind the world of sports getting back to business.

“There’s a way of doing that,” admitted Fauci. “Nobody comes to the stadium. Put [all of the players] in big hotels, wherever you want to play. [You] have them tested every week and make sure they don’t wind up infecting each other, or their family, and just let them play the season out.”

It certainly wouldn’t be easy on a number of different fronts when it comes to safely pulling off the games. The NHL would probably need to house multiple teams at regional locations where the games would be played to empty arenas, they would need universal, rapid testing to make certain nobody had tested positive for the virus and they would need professional athletes to essentially self-quarantine for the duration of their season.

NHL games would also likely have to be played sometime over July and August given all of the dominoes that would need to fall before games were actually played.

“It’s kind of bizarre,” said Charlie Coyle during a Zoom conference call with the Bruins media on Wednesday afternoon. “It seems like everything is up in the air and you don’t know what to expect. I know we’re going to try to finish the season off and do everything within our power to do that. But what the format is going to be like and what we can accomplish, I don’t know. I’m asking all of the same questions that all of you are. I hope we can finish everything off and do it in the right way.”

But all the effort would put the MLB, NHL, NFL, MLS and NBA back into business until a time when a widely available vaccine might someday allow for fans to pack back into the stadiums and arenas across North America. It would also put pro athletes into the strange world of playing in front of empty arena during the playoffs, which would be strange to say the least.

Coyle admitted on the call with the Bruins media that it would be “very bizarre,” but that it’s also something the players would be willing to do in order to bring the NHL back for everybody.

“We’ve thought about that and talked about it with whoever, teammates, friends, parents or whoever. It’s very bizarre to think about playing a very meaningful game with no fans in there. It’s almost like a practice atmosphere, you know? I don’t know,” said Coyle. “I don’t know what it would be like. I’ve never played an NHL game where there was nobody there, so it would be a new experience if that’s what it comes down to.

“If that’s what we have to do. The perfect scenario would be to have our fans there cheering us on because we love playing in front of these guys. They bring so much to our game and to our team. Just the atmosphere of it all, especially at playoff time. There is nothing like it. It wouldn’t be the same at all. I hope things can work out and we can get this thing figured out and everybody can get back to normal and living their normal lives — going to sporting events, big events and big crowds. If [playing to empty arenas is] what it comes down to then we’ll adjust accordingly, but we’ll definitely miss [the fans] and we’ll lose a part of our atmosphere and our team.”

As with most walks of life, things are going to feel “very bizarre” for a while amidst the coronavirus outbreak until time, and some scientific breakthroughs, can bring back normalcy. The world of the NHL doesn’t feel like it’s going to be any different in that regard.