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Why yes, the PA wanted ‘wild card’ games

File this one under, “I thought everybody knew this already”: the Ottawa Sun’s Chris Stevenson points out that when the NHLPA told the NHL it had issues with realignment as the NHL had configured “conferences” inequitably by affording current Eastern Conference teams a 4-in-7 chance of making the playoffs but giving Western Conference teams 4-in-8 odds, the PA suggested that the NHL should allow the teams which would have otherwise missed the cut to engage in “wild card” playoff play-in games:

According to a couple of players, the NHLPA suggested adding wild cards to the mix and having them stage a play-in game or games to earn the final playoff spots. Details were sketchy, but one player told NHL Saturday there was support for the idea of a doubleheader afternoon with four teams playing sudden-death games to decide which ones would get the final couple of playoff spots.

“They would have the stage to themselves and can you imagine the hockey?” one player said. “It would mean more revenue for everybody, but it was a non-starter from the owners’ standpoint. They weren’t interested at all.”

Another player said it doesn’t mean the idea is dead.

“There is going to be realignment and it’s all going to have to be negotiated,” he said.

Continued with other NHL notes…

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Hank1974's avatar

I LOVE the idea of a wild-card game.
I don’t care about history and all that BS. This would be an ultra-exciting game for the fans and even the players.
And can you imagine the ratings?

If that’s the only thing holding back this new realignment, then do it. It’s a no-brainer to me.

Posted by Hank1974 on 01/21/12 at 12:58 PM ET


First off, I don’t get it.  Sudden death games?  Literally the first goal wins?

Either way, I hate it.

If my team is in 8th in the conference (or 4th in the realigned “conference”) then why should they have to play an extra game against the team behind them?  They’ve already played 82 f*cking games, why should the team that didn’t make it be allowed another chance to get in?  Screw that, if you can’t get into the playoffs in 82 games you don’t deserve to play an 83rd.

Posted by Garth on 01/21/12 at 01:58 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I’m with Garth.

While I get the idea of excitement and drama, the whole point of the previous 82 games is to sort out the winners and losers.  If you’ve played 82 games and you sit in 9th… that’s your problem, and your own fault.  This isn’t the NFL or NCAA Football where 12-16 games is the max sample size and sometimes that’s not enough… 82 games is PLENTY for us to look at Columbus and say “Wow, they blow goats.  They don’t deserve to be in the playoffs”...

Now, that’s not to say a #1 - #16 seeding ignoring conference isn’t maybe better, but… I get really tired of the need to make everyone feel like they’re winners somehow by making the playoffs.  Screw that.  If you suck, you pay the price for it and get the Lottery of Shame.  Next time try to get in 8th instead of 9th.

Posted by Primis on 01/21/12 at 02:54 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

The whole point of the wild-card game is to prevent unfairness for teams that are in an 8-team conference compared to those in a 7-team conference.

And it’s not sudden-death games as in the first goal wins. They mean a best-of-one game - so a Sudden Death game.
Even the NHL’s not stupid enough to charge people for a full ticket for a one-goal game (although I could make an obvious joke about the Blues playing in those every night).

Posted by Hank1974 on 01/21/12 at 03:45 PM ET


Everyone’s making too big of a deal of the 7 vs 8 team conferences.  I can’t believe everyone keeps throwing out 4-in-7 and 4-in-8 odds out like they’re actually accurate.  The only way that would be the case is if every single team was the same, every player on every team was the same, every schedule was exactly the same, and so on.  Only in a vacuum would these odds be true.

Would you rather be in a 7 team conference with 5 good teams, or an 8 team conference with 2 good teams?  I’d say your odds of making the playoffs would likely be better in that case in the 8 team conference as opposed to the 7 team conference.

On point with this thread though, I too am with Garth.  Sixteen teams is enough.  No one was saying last year that Dallas or Calgary deserved a 83rd game to try to get into the playoffs even though they had more points than the Rangers, the East 8th seed.  What happens if the next two teams are only a point behind the team allowed a wild-card game?  Shouldn’t they get a wild-card game against the wild-card team first?  Where does it end, at a 30 team round-robin?

Posted by Valek from Chicago on 01/21/12 at 04:37 PM ET

cs6687's avatar

A good point I saw mentioned earlier this week is what if there’s a 10-point deficit between the 4th place team and the 5th place team? At what point, if any, do you waive the wild-card game for that particular eight-team division?

Posted by cs6687 on 01/21/12 at 05:28 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

Not a fan. Just take the top 16 and be done with it. At that point, unbalanced conferences don’t matter and can exist only for better travel.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 01/22/12 at 12:58 AM ET

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