In case you missed it yesterday, Sportsnet hockey insider Elliotte Friedman reported that the NHL and NHLPA are working on a 24-team conference based Stanley Cup Playoffs and have settled on a format that would see a 1st round bye for eight teams, with a best-of-five "play in" series be played amongst the remaining 16 teams.
Check it out:
Okay, so how will this play out? Who plays who?
Again from Friedman:
The top four seeds (based on points percentage) in the East would be Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington and Philadelphia. Top four in the West would be St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas and Dallas.
They would receive byes through the play-in, but participate in a three-game tournament to get some action. I confess I’m not certain of all the details on if or how it would affect playoff seeding.
The rest of the playoffs would be “bracketed.” That means, in both conferences 5 vs. 12 (winner plays four seed), 6 vs. 11 (winner plays three seed), 7 vs. 10 (winner plays two seed) and 8 vs. 9 (winner plays one seed).
So that would mean an opening round of: Pittsburgh/Montreal; Carolina/Rangers; Islanders/Florida and Toronto/Columbus in the East and Edmonton/Chicago; Nashville/Arizona; Vancouver/Minnesota; Calgary/Winnipeg in the West.
The play-in series would be a best-of-five. The rest of the playoffs would be best-of-seven.
There are some JUICY matchups in this format! Pens vs Habs, Blackhawks vs Oilers, Flames vs Jets, Hurricanes vs Rangers! I'm not going to lie... this could be entertaining as Hell.
Now Friedman's Sportsnet colleague Chris Johnston is reporting that a potential change to the format being discussed by the NHL and NHLPA would pit the 8 divisional leaders against each other to determine playoff seeding.
Check it out:
So let me get this straight... the Bruins and Blues, both of whom have dominated the entire season to secure top seed in their conferences, will be forced to play a three game exhibition schedule to determine their playoff fate? Who the Hell thought this was a good idea? This is to say nothing for the Avs, Lightning, Capitals, Flyers, Golden Knights and Stars who have all had great seasons, as well.
I might be stating the obvious and maybe it's beyond the point, but this entire thing is just getting more and more gimmicky by the day. Here's an idea, NHL: 16 team playoff. Seed 1-8 in each conference. Best of 7 series for each. What a radical idea, eh?