Thursday, March 30, 2017

NHL First-Round Playoff Alignment: Another way the NHL is NHLing.

It’s that magical time of year. The days are getting longer and warmer. Soon the flowers will be blooming and the sale of allergy pills will sky rocket. This could only mean that it's time for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. When “normal” people are washing their car on a Saturday afternoon, you are ordering pizza and getting a few 40s ready for a 3pm start.

The playoffs are the best time of the season for any sport. Messing with them, unless a giant fan uproar demands it, should only be done with the utmost care. So what does the NHL do? Rather than fix the actual issues of the game, they introduce a mind-numbing playoff format. Most leagues that have a 16-team playoff, have their first round set up in a logical order in two divisions. When you finish first in your division, you get worst seed in the opening round. If you are the second team, you get the second-worst seed. The NHL, nope. You finish second. You get the third team. Your reward for a great season finishing in 2nd or 3rd? An early exit for one of the best teams in the playoffs. It’s unavoidable that a great team gets bounced early. A matchup that should be 2nd or possibly the conference finals is staged for the 1st round. This is a perfect example of a term I say on a hockey forum, The NHL is going to NHL.

I will be revisiting this after the first round, so see how badly the NHL, well, NHL’d.

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