François Legault turned his wit toward the Montreal Canadiens today. Sporting a Habs face mask sent to him by team captain Shea Weber, Premier François Legault joked that "I guess [Weber] is not feeling resentful that I suggested trading him in January!" Thanks to the Premier, we all miss hockey again. It was a welcome moment of levity at the beginning of Thursday's press update

In fine form, the Premier cleverly remarked that "while I'm on the subject, if the Canadiens win the playoffs, we'll, unfortunately, be unable to have a Stanley Cup parade this summer, just to be clear." 

"But we're not working hard on a plan B," he said with a smile, poking fun at the team's unlikely chances of getting that far.

The moment was a reminder that despite the health crisis, hockey is never far from the minds of Habs fans. Though it's a bad situation all around, hockey has a unique way of uniting all Quebecers through troubling times. 

It begs the question: what's happening with the hockey season? 

If you remember way back in March, the NHL "indefinitely suspended" the regular season due to COVID-19. The Habs were far out of the playoff race, standing at an even 31 wins and 31 losses. 

However, recent developments indicate that the NHL is evaluating a proposal to host a 24-team end to the season in eight or nine neutral host cities.

If a 24-team playoff were to happen, the Habs would be competing for the Stanley Cup as the 24th-ranked team in the playoffs, which is far from ideal. 

While being in the playoffs sounds like good news to some Habs fans, hockey experts around the league are skeptical of the whole format. 

Though many teams could reportedly benefit from a 24-team playoff format, the Athletic's Dom Luszczyszyn said that a 20-team format would fall under what he calls the "Goldilocks zone," making for a fairer and more competitive playoff. 

The Athletic's Arpon Basu, meanwhile, said that a 24-team playoff format would be "the worst thing imaginable" for the Montreal Canadiens. 

Before you celebrate a return to hockey season, keep in mind that everything is still up in the air at this point. The NHL is still waiting for confirmation from the player's union, among other entities. 

 

Regardless of what happens over the next few weeks, hockey's return is still in doubt.

In Quebec, the government has not yet decided when to allow team sports to resume, though individual and no-contact sports reopened on May 20.

In the meantime, let's all honour our team and wear our Habs face masks with pride. 

Stay tuned for more news. 

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