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Who Wants Four More Playoff Teams?

from Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy,

Would it be a single play-in game? Would it be a three-game series?

Would you care?

Probably. It’s playoff hockey, which means it’s going to be the NHL at its most intense and meaningful. The fans in the eight cities involved in a play-in round would care. Is it too much of a good thing?

Television would care. Advertisers would care.


Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Nathan's avatar

This would push me away from hockey more than any of the economic bickering between the league and PA has. Already, more than 50% of the teams in the league make the playoffs. Now, given the “hot goalie” concept, the impacts of trade deadline movements, and even just the nature of injuries (and recoveries) in hockey, I’m okay with that many teams making the playoffs, because we’ve seen these factors, year after year, contribute to making a few low seeds highly competitive.

But please, if they dilute the playoff pool even more, it becomes meaningless. If 66% of the league is going to make the post-season, here’s a better idea—just blow up the current format all together. Play a 60 game regular season where you play each team twice. The best team in the regular season wins the Cup, as they proved themselves to be the best over the large sample size. Then, like most soccer leagues, play an unrelated tournament that involves the entirety of the league.

Don’t mistake me—I think that idea sucks as well. I’m just making a point.

I’m not at all resistant to change, but if I were going to change one thing about the NHL playoff format, I’d sooner tackle scheduling, seeding, or heck, I’d reduce the number of teams before I’d increase it.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/02/13 at 09:21 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

And yes, I realize before we had a 30 team league, the percentages were comparable to what 20/30 teams would be. But keep in mind, how many real good quarterfinal rounds did we have from the original expansion until the growth to 30 teams? I cannot think of more than a few.

More importantly, the NHL regular season is already quite devalued. If we add more teams to the playoffs, the regular season just becomes more of a tired joke. The playoffs, as-is, are the strong point of the on the ice product. Best playoff in sports. If anything needs fixing, it’s the regular season, which for many clubs and veteran players especially, has become like extended training camp. Just do enough to get in the playoffs, that’s all that matters any more.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/02/13 at 09:26 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Why not just let all 30 teams into the playoffs?
Why bother having any integrity at all. I know that sports is about making money, but at some point, it would be really nice if the NHL was about more than chasing the dollar.

If they add more playoff teams, I’m done with the NHL.
They can take all their lockouts, boring scramble goals, concussions, low scoring and 20 playoff teams and shove it.

Posted by Hank1974 on 01/02/13 at 09:41 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I would get used to it I guess, but I’ve never gotten to the end of an 82-game season and thought “gosh, I really think that team that finished 10th in their conference deserves a shot at the cup.”

If they go with the realignment they were talking about doing, then they’re going to have to start doing inter-conference series in the first or second round of the playoffs (depending on whether they would want to give each conference’s top seed a bye… an idea I don’t think I favor).

...and there would still be the problem of the 10th-worst team in the league making the postseason. The Kings were a nice story, but they were an aberration.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/02/13 at 09:45 AM ET

henrymalredo's avatar

This idea sounds like nothing more then a money-grab.  It also helps continue my suspicions that the NHL will expand by two teams in the next two years.

Posted by henrymalredo from Lansing on 01/02/13 at 10:35 AM ET

WingFanFormerlyInLA's avatar

I was thinking they should reduce the number of teams by 4….for both the playoffs and the league in general.  Expanding the playoffs is a horrible idea.

Posted by WingFanFormerlyInLA on 01/02/13 at 10:37 AM ET

Evilpens's avatar

It’s Kypreos ! enough said

Posted by Evilpens on 01/02/13 at 11:08 AM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

Yeah, it’s not enough to deny us the game for 3 months, now they should f*cking wreck it.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 01/02/13 at 12:06 PM ET

LivinLaVidaLockout's avatar

Why not just let all 30 teams into the playoffs?

Posted by Hank1974 on 01/02/13 at 08:41 AM ET

Agreed, it’s not fair that some teams should be rewarded and others punished when they’re all playing the same game.

Let’s do this Oprah style:

“You make the playoffs! YOU make the playoffs! EVERYONE MAKES THE PLAYOFFS!!!”

Posted by LivinLaVidaLockout on 01/02/13 at 01:00 PM ET

Chris from NOHS's avatar

I’d be ok with one play-in game between 8 & 9.  I dunno, it would be exciting at the very least and not affect the current situation that much.

Posted by Chris from NOHS from Columbus, OH/Grand Rapids, MI on 01/02/13 at 01:15 PM ET


Television would care. Advertisers would care.

Yep, everything is about television sets now a days. That is how the Big Ten ended up with Rutgers and Maryland.

Posted by TeddyGB on 01/02/13 at 01:19 PM ET


Posted by Chris from NOHS from Columbus, OH/Grand Rapids, MI on 01/02/13 at 12:15 PM ET

Then why not between 9 & 10 to see who plays against 8?  Or 10 and 11 to see who plays against 9 to see who plays against 8?

There are enough teams in the playoffs as it is, and now they want to make end-of-season playoff drives less relevant?

Posted by Garth on 01/02/13 at 01:29 PM ET

Paul's avatar

I am ok with a play-in game or a best of 3 for those teams, but a best of 7 won’t work for me.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 01/02/13 at 01:32 PM ET

Bradley97's avatar

This is a bit long, so please feel free to skip.

I do believe the NHL intends to expand 2 more teams, possibly Quebeq and Seatle, and eventually 2 other teams moving to possibly better locations with arenas ready to close. No reason Hamilton should not get a team as well to place 9 in Canada along with Quebeq, and Seatle was looking to bring back the NBA and add an NHL team. I think the NHL would be foolish to ignore a prime hockey market. I think KC and Portland are additional options, but I could be wrong, so out of those 5, two likely will get expansion teams soon.

With the NHL wanting to expand to 32 teams, once these negotiations are finally complete I expect that plan to move forward. I think that’s the primary reason the league wants a 10 year CBA, so it can focus on the new teams, the existing ones that need help, and continued improvement of the game (hopefully those game play related meetings took care of the issues that cropped up over the last few seasons, the game was at its best in years during the middle of the last CBA before old non call habits creeped back in.

Regarding those old habits, the NHL should keep officials in teams of 5 or six, depending on if they want both an extra ref and an extra linesman. If kept at 5, the extra ref should view the game off ice and be in Blue Tooth contact with the officials on the ice. All penalty calls should be quickly consulted, and with current technology that could be done from anywhere on the ice to ensure everyone agrees the call is correct, like football, but hopefully with better success.

Back to the topic at hand, assuming expansion, the league will want to realign into 4 conferences within two seasons and then fill out the 7 team conferences via expansion into the conference directly or by moving a team from an 8 team conference to a 7 team conference. The Wings will stay in a conference dominated by Central Time Zone teams without question as Nashville would make more sense to move if Quebec gets a team and a western market like Seattle gets a team.

I like the idea of the first two rounds played within the conference. I expect two new trophies to be created for the new conferences, so the conference champions will receive the Whales and Campbell trophies after two rounds, and the other conferences will receive the new honors (I’d like to see the Adams trophy for coaching changed to Scotty Bowman, and Adams becoming a conference trophy, as well as honoring Pearson with a conference trophy as that now belongs to Lindsay). After that I would hope for the conference champions to be reseeded based on regular season record, so the coasts could play each other right away in the Stanley Cup rounds if the standings worked out that way. The best part is 8 wins to the conference championship followed by 8 wins to the Stanley Cup championship making the Octopus once again literally relevant (take that Nashville fish tongue wink ).

With half of each conference making the playoffs I think that’s enough. However, I could forgive a 3-game wild card round for the 4th and possibly even 3rd seeds in each conference, guaranteeing only the top two seeds spots in the first round. This would not be my preference, but if fewer teams in each conference are guaranteed making the playoffs then it does make the regular season more meaningful, however I only see this working in the 4-conference alignment.

Posted by Bradley97 on 01/02/13 at 01:40 PM ET


I’m fine with this as long as it coexists with realignment and if the play-in games are between conferences instead of internal to them.

The way the new “Patrick” division is lining up, you’ve got 5 regular Eastern conference playoff fixtures in the same division (Pit, NYR, NJD, PHI, Was), and only 4 can get in. In the other “East” division, there is only one (Boston), yet there are 3 more spots that are guaranteed fills. I’d hate to see a situation where the Capitals have 98 points and miss the playoffs, while the Leafs and Panthers squeak in with 82 and 84. A “play-in” round could correct that a little.

Posted by larry on 01/02/13 at 03:07 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Need less teams making playoffs not more!! good God they will be presenting the SC in late June tongue rolleye

Posted by Evilpens on 01/02/13 at 05:20 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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