NHL playoff format will definitely knock out contenders early

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Two of the top 4 teams in the NHL are guaranteed to be out the playoffs after the second round.

Farewell Nashville or Winnipeg. Goodbye Boston or Tampa Bay. Thanks for playing.

That’s the truth under the divisional playoff format that might pit the top 2 teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences against each other in round 2 after Pittsburgh and Washington were forced into that predicament in back-to-back playoffs.

” There’s not a whole lot of reasoning there,” Capitals defenceman Brooks Orpik stated.

How’s this for reasoning? If ranking teams 1 through 8 in each conference like the old format that was in location from 1993-94 through 2013, the No. 2 seed is facing the No. 4 seed, 3 versus 7, and 5 versus 6 in the first round in the East and the West this year.

A Penguins-Capitals design repeat could occur this year with the Central’s Predators and Jets on a crash course for a second-round showdown and the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning locked into a stacked Atlantic bracket with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

” You ‘d think that ‘d nearly be a third-round series kind of thing, however so be it,” Predators defenceman Ryan Ellis stated. “It is exactly what it is. You’re going to have to see a team like that eventually. There’s very little you can do to alter it.”

Maybe this spring will suffice to trigger a modification in the oft-criticized format in its fifth season that is accepted in between the league and NHL Gamers’ Association through the 2019-20 season. The Capitals getting knocked out in the 2nd round by the ultimate Stanley Cup-champion Penguins didn’t lead to much dispute.

” I would assume after his year there ‘d be a bigger hunger to do it,” Washington general supervisor Brian MacLellan said. “In the past it hasn’t affected as many teams as might be required to obtain that motion. It’s basically been us that’s been the group that’s not taken advantage of the 1 through 8. However we’ll see exactly what occurs this year with a couple more great groups being beat out in the 2nd round.”

Deputy Commissioner Expense Daly said the playoff format is not a burning concern for owners, wasn’t discussed by GMs and need to be looked at over a long period of time rather of focusing on “anomalies.”.

” It’s worked I believe for the a lot of part as we expected it would work,” Daly said. “I do think in terms of the matches in the very first 2 rounds of the playoffs, they’re better with this format. They’re simply more intense and more acquainted with this format than they remained in the old format.”.

Reigniting and producing brand-new rivalries was the goal of this playoff format, which mimics the one in place for most of the ’80s and early ’90s. Inequities have occurred, but so has plenty of drama on Cup runs by the Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks and the Penguins two times.

” I believe that as a fan, you wish to see matchups versus rivals,” said New Jersey defenceman Ben Lovejoy, who won the Cup with Pittsburgh in 2016. “I believe that pits archenemies versus each other more often and it can backfire every when in a while. You can get 2 high seeds playing each other in the first round or the 2nd round and possibly that’s unfair however I think eventually it’s good for the game to have heated up playoff series against teams that do not like each other and see each other a lot.”.

Heated playoff series make this time of year fun, however Predators versus Jets and Bruins versus Lightning would be just as compelling, if not more so, in the conference finals. Hockey people unwilling to fault the system typically take an approach like Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, who said, “Whether the format itself is best or wrong, if you want to win the Cup, you have to discover a method to obtain through this format.”.

The tough part is the format isn’t really produced similarly, making one road to the 3rd round or the Cup Final possibly simpler than another.

” I do not necessarily concur with how it is, but it’s the method it is,” stated winger Wayne Simmonds, whose Flyers open versus the Penguins. “You have to have a mindset that you’re going to play groups in your department firstly which’s just the method it is.”.

Orpik said gamers can’t wait to review the format when the agreement is up, which could be part of the next round of collective bargaining talks. However there’s no agreement on what would be better. The expected addition of a 32nd team in Seattle might stimulate change, too.

” You can play a 1-to-16 playoff swimming pool, but I would suggest to you that there’ll be injustices because,” Predators GM David Poile said, referencing travel amongst the concerns. “Pick your toxin. I believe you change that and you develop the next idea, you ‘d face the very same thing. … I do not think there’s any precise playoff plan that everybody would state is best.”.

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