With the vaccine rollout slow and no signs of the border opening up in the near future, the NHL is planning where to play the Canadian team that advances to the third round of the playoffs according to Pierre LeBrun. If it’s the Leafs, they could play their games in Buffalo.
— John Vogl (@BuffaloVogl) March 5, 2021
Apart from how hilarious this would be, it just might make some sense. Buffalo is the closest city to Toronto and there is an established fan base in the area already. The Blue Jays already had spent nearly the entire 2020 season in the city so it makes sense for another Toronto team to take up residence in the city (in this case, the KeyBank Center) if necessary.
Of course, this is contingent on the Canadian government loosening their regulations on the mandatory 14-day quarantine that has made trades between Canadian and American teams difficult to execute. Due to the aforementioned lack of clarity on if and when the border will reopen, having a Canadian team play between two to eight playoff games in an American city might be the best work-around the league can go with.
Should the Leafs not make it, some suggestions LeBrun came up with for some of the other teams include:
- The Oilers playing their games in Arizona
- The Jets playing their games in Minnesota
- The Canadiens playing their games in New Jersey
If this idea will actually be implemented remains anyone’s guess. But it would be quite the spectacle if the Leafs were to play meaningful games in their second home arena.