Montreal Canadiens Reportedly Heading to Toronto for Playoffs

MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 27: Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 27: Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

The Montreal Canadiens will reportedly be joining the rest of the Eastern Conference in the city of Toronto for their play-in series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Amid a slew of questions regarding the National Hockey League’s return-to-play plan during the COVID-19 pandemic, we may finally have an answer as to where the Montreal Canadiens will be playing. Upon reports made by TSN’s Bob Mckenzie on Canada Day morning, the NHL has decided that the two hub cities will be in Canada, specifically Edmonton and Toronto.

Having both hub cities located in Canada comes as a surprise as it was expected that Las Vegas and Vancouver were in the mix. However, it looks as if those plans fell through. Although there has been no formal announcement on Edmonton and Toronto being the two hub cities, it is possible we see it become official by the end of the week.

The Western Conference will head to Edmonton while the Eastern Conference naturally heads to Toronto where the Montreal Canadiens will face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the play-in series for a chance at competing in the playoffs if they were to win.

It is also looking likely training camp will open on July 13, giving Montreal Canadiens players and other teams’ players alike ample time to prepare for when the NHL resumes play. This date appears to have been pushed back a few days from the original timeline as the NHL and NHLPA try to negotiate a new CBA in the midst of this pause. Still, we haven’t been given the exact start date for games to be played.

In terms of Canadiens players, Jonathan Drouin, Charles Hudon, Laurent Dauphin, Michael McNiven and Paul Byron are already back in Montreal training at the Habs complex in Brossard. Carey Price is expected to join them in the coming days, if he hasn’t already. Given that there is more certainty in hockey resuming, we should see more Habs players returning to Montreal in the coming days.

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Although there is still much work to be done in ensuring the safety of the NHL’s players and staff and a looming uncertainty on whether or not the NHL will resume at all, this a big step in their return-to-play plan.