The NHL is said to be progressing toward using a 24-team playoff format - which would include several clubs that have been virtually eliminated from contention - if the 2019-20 campaign is able to resume.
And Nashville Predators forward Matt Duchene isn’t happy about it. On Tuesday, Duchene explained what he doesn’t like about the idea of adding more contenders to the Stanley Cup run.
“I just think that you gotta keep … as much integrity as possible,” Duchene told Sportsnet’s “Hockey Central”.
“You don’t want to have a COVID Cup, and I’m worried that if we come back and force this thing … and it’s a little gimmicky or if it’s not quite right, whoever wins the Cup is gonna have people trying to take it away from them their whole lives and they don’t deserve that, (the) guys that come back and ultimately win it. So I feel very passionately about this part of things.”
Duchene, who knows the NHL and NHLPA is working hard at finding solutions to resume the season, even urged them to implement a more traditional format instead.
“There’s no fair way to say who should be in and who should be out because of not playing … the full 82 - but, for lack of a better word, somebody’s gonna get screwed,” Duchene said.
“So I believe let’s keep it as traditional as possible. I’d love to see us jump to a 16-team playoff. Normal (best-of-seven) playoff, maybe you’re playing a little more frequently because guys are gonna be fresh and you can play a game at 3 o’clock on Friday and play at 7 on Saturday and there’s no travel.”
Of course Duchene wants a traditional setup: his Predators currently occupy the final Western Conference wild-card berth with the season on hold. But we wonder how he would feel if they were out of contention…