Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 12/13/12 at 02:38 PM ET
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
If we play a 48-game season, my suggestion would be to increase the playoff pool from 16 to 24 teams. It would be a conference-only format, and the top four teams in each conference would draw a first-round bye, and then teams ranked fifth to 12th would play in a best-of-three play-in round. No. 5 would play No. 12. No. 6 would play No. 11, and so on.
The lower seed starts with a home game, and then the higher seed gets the final two games at home. You would have to do that to ensure that each team gets a home game while minimizing travel.
Once the play-in round is over, the teams are re-seeded No. 1 through No. 8 and the regular playoff format resumes.
Can you imagine the intensity of those best-of-three play-in rounds? Historically, the most buzz about the NHL playoffs comes in the first round because there are fans from 16 teams still believing they can win the Stanley Cup. Wouldn't the buzz be greater if 24 teams were still alive in this one-time unique postseason format?
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