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Will 24 Teams In The Stanley Cup Playoffs Become The Norm?

from Michael Traikos of the National Post,

The reason for adding another eight teams into the playoff mix this year is mostly out of necessity. When the season was paused on March 12, there were a handful of teams on the bubble with a dozen or so games remaining on the schedule. It’s not fair to take the standings as they are today. Nor does it make sense for a team such as Detroit, which is already mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, to come back and play for nothing.

Of course, the real reason for expanding the playoffs is that it puts more cash in the owners’ pockets....

The logistics are still being worked out. But the NHL, which would require a three-week training camp, is considering all of its options in how to make the biggest impact in its return to play.

Whatever it decides, you can bet more playoff games will be part of the equation. After all, more playoff games equal more TV revenue. And for a league that has lost so much money due to cancelling the final weeks of the regular season, this is its chance to recoup some lost dollars and keep as many fans as possible interested.

Do you honestly think the owners, who could potentially lose more money next year if fans are still not allowed back in the buildings, will want to go back to 16 teams? No chance.

The NHL will not be able to put this toothpaste back in the tube. And why would it? The playoffs are when teams make back their money. It’s when the players are playing for free and when the game tickets — when fans are in the building — cost more money. The need to be in the playoffs has now never been stronger. And it’s also never been as difficult as it is today.


Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink



I hate the idea of 24 teams in the playoffs. Completely hate it. The regular season is already meaningless enough as it is.

That said, remember that for the entire 80s (actually 1979-1991) the NHL had a 16-team playoff with only 21 total teams in the league. Basically the same percentage as 24 out of 31/32.

So there’s precedent I suppose. Still doesn’t make it a good idea.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 05/19/20 at 08:37 AM ET

The Meal's avatar

If teams 17-24 are very successful this post-season, then I think it’s less likely we see an immediate call for a 24-team playoff system in future years.  However ” the real reason for expanding the playoffs is that it puts more cash in the owners’ pockets” guarantees that we will see a 24-team post-season at some point in the future.

Posted by The Meal from Firestone, CO on 05/19/20 at 08:39 AM ET


I really don’t want to see 24 teams in the playoffs. It’s watered down enough already.

And it might not be the cash cow the league thinks it will be. The players won’t likely agree to it unless they get a slice of the pie as well. Fans might avoid play-in games saving their money for 2nd round contests.

Teams might eventually learn to dislike the byes as well. Sitting around for 2 weeks waiting on the results of a play-in series could have a negative impact. We’ve seen what happens to teams returning from bye weeks.

Posted by evileye on 05/19/20 at 10:26 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Great idea, how can we suckle out more passion and meaning of the regular season, to make a post season buck.  Why not let everyone qualify,  make the regular season just a giant exhibition!

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerGod's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 05/19/20 at 11:11 AM ET

Paul's avatar

In related news for this season…

via CTV,

An agreement has been reached between Canada and the United States to keep the border closed to all non-essential travel for another month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced.

The extension on the existing agreement means that the border restrictions will stay in place until June 21, even as parts of both countries begin gradually reopening.

“This is an important decision that will keep people in both of our countries safe,” Trudeau said on Tuesday.

I still cannot see either side refusing to let athletes in, Can you imagine the negative remarks which could be tossed at Trudeau?

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/19/20 at 11:31 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

I still cannot see either side refusing to let athletes in, Can you imagine the negative remarks which could be tossed at Trudeau?

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/19/20 at 11:31 AM ET

I can not,  but I also don’t live in Canada and am unsure how he is portrayed by their media.  He’s without doubt on the side of American mainstream media for sure, they love themselves some Trudeau.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerGod's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 05/19/20 at 01:50 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

It is a good possibility to have a 24 team playoff after this season’s playoff’s (if they occur), with the strong possibility of playing in empty stadiums next season. Of course with many additional playoff games the players will want to be compensated, especially since they aren’t now after the regular season ends under the current format. smile

Posted by bigfrog on 05/19/20 at 08:48 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

Trudeau just got reelected because of poor or no competition Him and his part so many bluders, it became the norm.  Now he seems to be doing a good job with the pandemic.  Many families are split up around the world.  Making exmptions for Millionaire Athletes will set a prececident for MLB and NBA to cross the border early.
And he can plan his future with not being the next Prime Minister. There are many Canadians waiting to get across the border to reunite with families and they can vote.

The Gangs and drug lords are losing a lot of coin getting caught at the border or staying under ground.

What will the Money Launders go be unable to travel from China to Richmond BC with bags of Dollars at and deposited (sort of )at Casinos , underground banks.

Anything can happen but don’t bet a nickel on this changing. 6 weeks total before they skate in Canada, minimum. I think there is an arena in Climax, Sask available.

Trumps Covid 19 decisions aren’t being well received completely within in the USA. How many detractors more does he have left he can fire.

Probably many more things happening quietly or lost in reporters narrow visions.

Just take Aug off and start the preseason, then the next season.Have a lottery for the Cup sort of like the June draft (Just kidding).

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 05/19/20 at 11:37 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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