Connect with us

Opinion

Playoff format needs work

1st round provides great matchups, but NHL should adjust to have them meet later

Embed from Getty Images

The NHL playoffs begin on Wednesday and there are some really compelling matchups, such as the Boston Bruins vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. the Philadelphia Flyers

Playoff Format Woes

The problem, though, is that many of these matchups should not be happening now and many of the top teams in each conference will face each other before the conference finals.

The NHL switched from a 1 vs 8 format five years ago in hopes of igniting rivalries like back in the 80s and early 90s. The misfortune of this is it robs teams like Nashville, Winnipeg, Boston, Tampa Bay, and Toronto from getting fair matchups in the first two rounds.

Toronto finished 3rd in the conference, five points better than Pittsburgh, a team that gets an easier matchup while Toronto is rewarded with the Bruins who were the second best team in the East.

If Nashville and Winnipeg win their opening series, they will play each other in the 2nd round rather than the conference finals. These are the top two teams in hockey and their reward for it is a brutal matchup in second round while lesser teams get an easier opponent.

Getting the battle of California with San Jose vs Anaheim is great, or a classic like Boston vs. Toronto will be highly entertaining, but the league is robbing the top teams of a fair chance opponent wise.

Of course, there is no such thing as an easy matchup in the playoffs, but the point is that we should see these teams meet in later rounds.

Veterans vs. Young Guns

One of the fun things every postseason is to look at who are some older guys that deserve a ring, and who are some young kids who could cement their mark for the new generation. 

Veterans:
Ryan Callahan (Tampa Bay) – Rochester, NY native who has had a good career but never got Lord Stanley and this may be his best chance yet

Patrick Marleau (Toronto) – He came so close with San Jose two years ago. Perhaps he finally gets his ring while ending Toronto’s cup drought

Joe Thornton (San Jose) – Thornton also was denied a ring two years ago and he doesn’t have many seasons left. Perhaps he can win a cup and help the Sabres get a 1st round pick for teammate Evander Kane

Alexander Ovechkin (Washington) – It’s weird putting his name here but he is now 32 and won’t be unstoppable forever. He has done everything in hockey but win in the postseason and maybe he can finally gets the monkey off his back

Young Guns

Patrick Laine/Mark Scheifele (Winnipeg) – These two have the potential to be Kane/Toews 2.0 and they are a joy to watch play.

Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado) – He should win the Hart Trophy and how far can he single-handedly take Colorado?

Auston Matthews (Toronto) – He got his first taste of the postseason last year and performed well. Now that the kid gloves are off, can he make his mark?

Charlie McAvoy (Boston)v- He looks like a Norris-caliber defenseman and elevates Boston’s defense greatly. If last year’s playoff was his coming out party, what can he do for an encore?

Predictions:

Stanley Cup Champion: Tampa Bay Lightning over Los Angeles Kings in six games

West Finals: Los Angeles over Winnipeg in 6 games

East Finals: Tampa Bay over Washington in 7 games

Darkhorse: Minnesota Wild – They are better than many people give credit for, and they have a goalie who can steal a lot of games when he is hot.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*

NHL Standings

TEAMGPRECPTS
Atlantic Division Leaders:
Z8254-23-5113
X8250-20-12112
X8249-26-7105
Metropolitan Division Leaders:
Y8249-26-7105
X8247-29-6100
X8242-26-1498
Wild Card leaders:
X8245-30-797
X8244-29-997
-----------------------------------------
8244-30-896
8236-35-1183
8235-37-1080
8234-39-977
8230-39-1373
8229-40-1371
8228-43-1167
8225-45-1262
TEAMGPRECPTS
Central Division Leaders:
P8253-18-11117
X8252-20-10114
X8245-26-11101
Pacific Division Leaders:
Y8251-24-7109
X8244-25-13101
X8245-27-10100
Wild Card leaders:
X8245-29-898
X8243-30-995
-----------------------------------------
8244-32-694
8242-32-892
8237-35-1084
8236-40-678
8233-39-1076
8231-40-1173
8229-41-1270
Skip to toolbar