Imagine being told you’re not allowed to have sugar anymore, for some indefinite period. At first you’d miss certain treats. Some food would taste more bland than you’d prefer, but you’d get used to it. In time it would become normal, even if you preferred it didn’t.

To some extent that’s been all of us with hockey. The deprivation hasn’t been straight-up “You can’t have food at all” bad — just more like something we regularly enjoyed was taken away. We noticed it a lot initially, and we wondered what we could even consume in its absence. But we eventually settled on halfway-decent substitutes and found a way to move on.

Now consider August of 2020, when all of us are now going to be asked to snort Fun-Dips through Pixie Stix from noon ’til night, day upon day. The NHL is serving cookie dough for lunch.

Have you seen the planned schedule for the NHL’s return to play? We’ve been dying for even just a single sweet taste of hockey — now we’re about to be shoved in the chocolate river at Willy Wonka’s Factory like Augustus Gloop.

There will be games starting at 12:00, 4:00, and 8:00 p.m. in Toronto. There will be games starting at 12:00, 4:00, and 8:00 p.m. in Edmonton. Which means that if you’re on the east coast, games — essentially playoff games, mind you — will begin at 12:00, 2:00, 4:00, 6:00, 8:00, and 10:00 p.m. (shift that whole timeline three hours earlier out west, which is even better).

We’re looking at a month of six games a day, all day, everyday. God forbid there’s any number of significant overtimes, or we could be talking about midnight (or later) puck drops some days, which will almost definitely happen because as Brian Burke explained, “It’s 2020 — of course it will.”