Montreal Canadiens defender Shea Weber appreciates the opportunity to play for a Stanley Cup. If the 24-team playoff format is approved, Canadians would qualify as the No. 12 seed in the Eastern Conference.
"Obviously I think we're excited. It's fair to all the teams that are in the playoffs, but at the same time it gives us a chance to win. It gives us a chance to keep playing," Weber said in an interview with TSN 1040 on Friday. Vancouver. "Obviously, in the situation we were in, we weren't officially out, but it would have been a difficult path to get into. I think it gives us a little hope now."
Montreal would not be worthy of a playoff spot unless the field was expanded considerably. When the NHL paused the season on March 12, the Canadians were 10 points from a bunk with 11 games remaining. The inactivity of the entire league gives teams like them a chance to make a deep playoff career.
"I think in any year in the playoffs, we've had an eight-seed victory before. This is a little more than that, but at the same time, there's no momentum right now. The teams haven't been playing for a couple of months. It's like we all started again. It's the start of a year, "Weber said from his home in Kelowna, BC." At this stage, if the team clicks at the right time and your goalkeeper warms up, I think we have one. of the best goalkeepers in the world, the next thing you know is that you have two, three rounds of depth, you have the momentum, the ball rolls and you never know. "
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The Habs would be a fearful playoff team, considering they'd have a well-rested Carey Price, one of the game's best goalkeepers. The 2015 Vezina and Hart Trophy winner has posted goals against the average below 2.50 in each of his last three playoff appearances.
Weber addressed the legitimacy of winning the Stanley Cup if the expanded playoff format is approved. While this would not be a typical season, he said the teams would continue to play for a championship.
"It is not like a normal season in which a team has to save something with 82 games. Eighty-two games is a routine. It is difficult," Weber said. "You see how difficult it is to make the playoffs. I think everyone will consider it, whether they give him an asterisk or just say, you know, this is what it was."
"It's still a Stanley Cup. Any chance you play for the Stanley Cup, whether it's the situation we find ourselves in, there's really no other way … The Return to Game Committee and the NHL find it convenient as well that this is the situation we have and whoever is the best right now will be the champion. I mean, you can't take that away if it's a full season played correctly or this playoff format that they got now. "
The 34-year-old captain said he expected injuries as players increase training for the season restart.
"I think everyone knows it is a process, especially during the summer. They train how long and they know when to peak, when is training camp and when the season starts, so it will be difficult," Weber said. "I would expect injury, especially (in) the condensed playoff format, however it will work."
"I think the games will be closer than they would be during the season. The teams will have to carry more players on their roster because there will definitely be injuries. It's going to be intense playoff-style hockey without the acceleration of a regular season. Definitely there will be some things, hopefully nothing too important and things are not in the long term. "
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Weber acknowledged that there are different opinions about the games that are played in the "central cities,quot;. Teammate Phillip Danault has expressed concern that he is potentially away from his family for an extended period of time. The veteran blueliner said there is no perfect way to resume the season.
"The league and the Return to Play Committee and the PA (National Hockey League Players Association) are trying to do the best they can," Weber said. "First of all, safety is what they are most concerned about, what they should be, and that is what all kids are most concerned about. Then, discovering these & # 39; central cities & # 39 ;, how to involve families Everything is part of the process
"It is not going to be perfect because it just is not a perfect world. You just have to make the best of what is happening and where we are now."