People are really talking about changing the NHL playoff format?? The hell is wrong with y’all??
I know you’re never going to make everyone happy. The divisional way to go about the playoffs is what people thought they wanted– but they hate that already. The top-eight isn’t something that people wanted due to times of a weak divisional leader skewing the leaders. The top-16 regardless of conference was something people didn’t like at first, but seem to be warming up to. The idea of all the teams getting in is being put out there with Seattle coming into the fold.
You know whatever is chosen– if anything– people will get behind it and subsequently loathe it two years later when they feel their favorite team gets screwed because of positioning or whatever.
But you know what will really piss everyone off with the exception of a scant few?? Put a Pairwise situation together for the NHL playoffs. Do it like the NCAA and really get the FancyStats heroes get their calculators and algorithms going. As someone who had to deal with figuring out the Pairwise (and still haven’t)– there’s nothing more frustrating that having to deal with other teams in order to get your strength of schedule up and going.
It’s a long-shot, but it’s just as good as suggestions everyone else is throwing out there. The evolution of stats would make this the ideal thing to do and get people really interested in it. And in all honesty, what’s the best way to get people interested in teams all across the league?? Make it so that if you put the top-16 teams into the playoffs; the Rangers have to root for the Sharks to win a divisional game in order to boost the Rangers Pairwise ranking, despite maybe not having as good a record.
Let’s put something to rest, too– the SPHL format of picking your opponent WON’T WORK. NHL heads are still too traditional for that. Not only that, but that is more a minor league gimmick– let that be in the minor leagues. The NHL gets enough guff from the sporting world that they don’t need to be the professional league that makes their league like “Whose Line Is It Anyway!?” where the points don’t matter and you make it up as you go along.
There’s nothing wrong with the way the playoffs are as it is right now. It helps promote rivalry within the division and make those several games a year mean something. Plus, it helps push the NBCSN farce of a Rivalry Night every Wednesday– which is why it won’t change. It’s not perfect– nothing will be. People are fickle and so is sport. Best to just enjoy what you got until your team gets screwed by the system and then have this debate all over again…..next season.