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Wild Card Race Heats Up Tonight

Note- Moved this to the top of page to make it easier to see.  Feel free to discuss the games tonight.

Original post time was 2:10pm.

First the current wild card standings in both conferences and below, games involviing thost teams tonight...

 

 

Games tonight with wild card implications...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

SYF's avatar

If the NHL does approve two more franchises in the Western Conference, will they keep the wild card format or just go back to having the top four teams in each division qualify?

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 04/01/14 at 01:17 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

As fun as it is watching the Leafs self-destruct, all good things must eventually come to an end, and it would seem playing Calgary at home, or Buffalo anywhere, is a cure for what ails most teams. So, I would not be at all surprised to see Toronto with 82 points and NJ with 81 points at this time tomorrow.

And, of course, we know who the Wings play tomorrow. A test indeed.

Crucial 48 hours upon us.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 04/01/14 at 01:27 PM ET

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The Toronto streak has to end sometime. But Calgary seems like the kind of team that Toronto will have trouble beating. They’re all effort and a difficult out.

Best game of the night? Dallas-Washington, followed by Columbus-Colorado.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 04/01/14 at 01:33 PM ET

alwaysaurie's avatar

If the NHL does approve two more franchises in the Western Conference, will they keep the wild card format or just go back to having the top four teams in each division qualify? —- SYF from the Swedish Ice Mafia

I don’t think the WC is related to the unbalanced-sizes of the conferences at all. I don’t think the league finds it to be “unfair” in any way, I certainly don’t.

The WC is because divisions often are of different strength & it’s considered “unfair” if a team in one division misses the playoffs because their division is so much stronger than the other division.

The WC system allow one division to send as many a 5, or as few as 3, teams to the playoffs to make things “more fair” than top-4 would be in some years.

(This year it looks like top-4 would be plenty fair, but it’s reasonable to think that in some years the divisions will be unbalanced to a larger degree.)

Posted by alwaysaurie on 04/01/14 at 02:48 PM ET

awould's avatar

I like the playoff format now, with the wild cards. I do not like the unbalanced conferences, there is not an argument that exists that could persuade me that it is anything remotely close to fair.

Posted by awould on 04/01/14 at 03:30 PM ET

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there is not an argument that exists that could persuade me that it is anything remotely close to fair.

So what if it isn’t fair.  Nothing is fair.  Life’s not fair.  Having 15 teams in each conference wouldn’t make the league “fair”.

Posted by Garth on 04/01/14 at 04:03 PM ET

awould's avatar

Posted by Garth on 04/01/14 at 05:03 PM ET

No need to get existential, and we’re not talking about how your parents couldn’t afford to take you to Disney but your best friend got to go.

Competing with 15 other teams for 8 spots is harder than competing with 13 other teams for 8 spots. It puts teams in the East at a disadvantage, numerically speaking. That makes it inherently unfair. So, yes, making each team compete on the same even playing field actually would make the league fair as compared to the current set-up.

If Detroit was only allowed to have 20 roster players,  would you think it is unfair that other teams get more players?

Posted by awould on 04/01/14 at 04:20 PM ET

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You argument is AWFUL.

First of all, number of teams means next to nothing unless you are comparing the quality of teams.

Second of all, number of players makes a HUGE difference considering injuries and the like. Less players, but more cap space to get better players.

You can never make one system that is fair. There are numerous of things to consider that are much more relevant than number of teams in a conference.

Posted by fromdowntown on 04/01/14 at 06:29 PM ET

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Nobody’s being existential, dick.

If you’re worried about fair then why aren’t you concerned about how unfair it is that Dallas would be in the playoffs if they were in the Eastern Conference?  Or that Minny would have home ice if they were in the Metro Division?

Fair?  What are you, six years old?

Maybe they should stop keeping score so that the Oilers won’t feel bad, because that’s not fair to their feelings.

Posted by Garth on 04/01/14 at 06:38 PM ET

awould's avatar

AWFUL? Really? My argument is pure mathematical logic. It doesn’t get any cleaner. To not understand how correct it is requires a lack of understanding of basic mathematics. Ratios and percentages. It’s laughable that anyone is actually acting like this doesn’t matter. I kind of think Garth was just jerking me around, but pretty sure you’re not.

First of all, number of teams means next to nothing unless you are comparing the quality of teams.

That is a factor that is impossible to control and will vary from season to season in both conferences. The number of teams in each conference is a rule that is established, much like number of players or minutes in a game. It is entirely controllable.

Let me ask you this - if you could choose a conference with 14 teams or 16 teams, knowing top 8 make the playoffs but NOT knowing who the other teams are, which would you choose and why?

Posted by awould on 04/01/14 at 06:41 PM ET

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Doesn’t matter, the parameter is to be a top 8 team. That doesn’t change in a 12, 15, or 20 team conference. All things created equal, you want the least amount of teams, but nothing is equal. So with that, I don’t care where you put me. Just win and you’re in.

Posted by fromdowntown on 04/01/14 at 06:46 PM ET

awould's avatar

Posted by Garth on 04/01/14 at 07:38 PM ET

I now no longer think Garth was jerking me around. Also, let’s dispense with the name-calling, not cool. Paul will slap your wrist. As for my age, I’m closer to 60 than 6 and I don’t think it’s too much to want a basic even playing field in a league that is played within 8000 rules and false constructs created by the men who run it.

Creating even conferences is totally controllable. As for Dallas, I’d be on board with getting rid of conferences altogether and letting the top 16 teams get seeded. I understand the need for geography to cut costs and drum up rivalries. But to act like it doesn’t matter is ridiculous. It does. It is easier to make the cut with fewer competitors - it just is. Is that fact muddled by the quality of the teams? Yes. But that cuts both ways and changes from year to year.

Posted by awould on 04/01/14 at 06:46 PM ET

awould's avatar

All things created equal, you want the least amount of teams, but nothing is equal.

Thank you for supporting my argument.

The “nothing is equal” part is out of anyone’s control - no accounting for Calgary. it’s why Vancouver was given a free pass for so many years in their crappy Division. But it’s separate from the 14-16 team conference set-up.

Posted by awould on 04/01/14 at 06:48 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Ha, I usually don’t slap wrists but would appreciate if the name calling stopped.  Thanks.

Just tell a person they are wrong if you wish, prove your point and wait for a response.  Just avoid the one or two words that are not needed.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 04/01/14 at 06:55 PM ET

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Vancouver may have had a crappy division, but so did the Wings for a long time, and they still won cups, didn’t they?

In those years, they proved they were the best team not because they got the luck of a shit division, but because they made it to the playoffs and won when it mattered most against the bad teams. Regardless of the unfair travel they had when they were in the western conference.

No matter the paramaters, you have to play through them and win to be a top 8 team. What do you suggest would make it “fair” to teams that lose players to injury?

Posted by fromdowntown on 04/01/14 at 06:56 PM ET

awould's avatar

No matter the paramaters, you have to play through them and win to be a top 8 team. What do you suggest would make it “fair” to teams that lose players to injury?

I’m not advocating anything other than having an even number of teams in each conference for the simple mathematical FACT that it is an easier road to the playoffs with fewer teams. It removes ONE small thing that creates an uneven playing field for some teams.

Think if they kept Detroit & Columbus in the West and gave 14 teams to the East. Neither team would be in their Wild Card slot but Washington and Toronto would, and New Jersey fans would still care. And they would because they had these two fewer teams to compete against who happened to be better than them.

Of course you take what you get and play your ass off. That’s not an argument against leveling the conferences though. Neither is pointing out that the West is a better conference top to bottom.

Posted by awould on 04/01/14 at 07:01 PM ET

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So who do we move back to the western conference to make things “fair” ??

Keep in mind travel, frequent late starts, etc. Because we just want to make it fair for everyone…..

Posted by fromdowntown on 04/01/14 at 07:01 PM ET

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So you put the Wings and Blue Jackets at a continued disadvantage playing more games way out of their time one, and back to traveling the most miles in the league.

Sounds plenty fair to me. Yeah, good job, man. You’re a real genius.

Posted by fromdowntown on 04/01/14 at 07:03 PM ET

awould's avatar

Posted by fromdowntown on 04/01/14 at 08:01 PM ET

I figured this 14-16 thing was to make room for a team moving west, or expansion in the west. I would have preferred Columbus stay in the West. I’d be ok with no geographical conferences whatsoever, actually. I just know that it makes no sense to give one conference a slight advantage just so you can be on the right side of a time zone.

I’m surprised this is so controversial. Argue away all you want, but you’re wrong on the facts so all you have is talk about making the best with what you got, countering with irrelevant ‘other unfair things’ and vague insinuations that wishing for a fair/level playing field is somehow weak or whatever.

Posted by awould on 04/01/14 at 07:06 PM ET

awould's avatar

You’re a real genius.

No, just a man who has a grasp of 7th grade math and an inability to impart that knowledge onto the ignorant.

Posted by awould on 04/01/14 at 07:08 PM ET

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While we’re at it, lets just say screw the divisions. It’s all 30 teams against each other. Everyone plays 1 road and 1 home game against everyone.

So you cut down the amount of games, but 2 road and 2 home games against each team is 116 games. Gotta have the same amount of home and road games, or else it’s not “fair.”

If a team has an injury, well, you’ll just wait to play until they are fully healthy. Because a fully healthy Boston team should, mathematically, destroy an unhealthy Wings team. Why even play the game? We should just let probability rule everything.

Posted by fromdowntown on 04/01/14 at 07:08 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

The Central was actually a pretty weak division for most of Detroit’s run at the top of the league in the 2000-2008 span.  Chicago didn’t really out it together until 08-09, Nashville was always a fairly average team, St Louis blew, and Columbus?  Please!

If I remember correctly, the central was the weakest division in 07-08 and Detroit won the presidents trophy despite having a worse record in division than they did out.

. My argument is pure mathematical logic. It doesn’t get any cleaner. To not understand how correct it is requires a lack of understanding of basic mathematics. Ratios and percentages.

TPSH posts mostly mathematical arguments and we don’t like those either.  Numbers aren’t the end-all and be-all of sports and it’s foolish to pretend they are.  A better team will stay home in the west than qualifies in the east this year, just like the last fifteen years.  The imbalance isn’t that big of a deal if you think of it in those terms.  Sure, you don’t have to beat as many teams.  But you have to win more games against great teams.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 04/01/14 at 07:10 PM ET

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The NHL should just expand west to even up the conferences. Who cares if they’ll have two more shit teams, because the numbers are even.

And what does it matter that those markets would suck compared to another eastern canadian market and drag the league down with its dependence on revenue sharing? Both conferences have 16 teams! That is whats fair to everyone.

Posted by fromdowntown on 04/01/14 at 07:11 PM ET

awould's avatar

The imbalance isn’t that big of a deal if you think of it in those terms.

It isn’t. But it exists and it is arbitrary and controllable. Just seems stupid to purposefully set it in a way that creates an imbalance at all.

All the arguments against me here boil down to ‘lots of other things aren’t exactly equal so this is the same’... but it isn’t. The other things listed so far that aren’t equal are things nobody can really control. This is entirely controllable. Is it so bad that it makes a mockery of the league? Of course not. But it is a stupid way to set up the conferences. In my opinion, of course. Apparently others disagree. They’re wrong. Good day, sirs.

Posted by awould on 04/01/14 at 08:46 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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