Monday, May 5, 2008


I've been watching (or 'following' is probably a better word due to the 6-hour delay between EST and Central European Time) a lot of playoff hockey this year, as have many people, and the playoffs have not been a let-down. N° 8 seed Boston took the Habs to 7 games in the East and the N° 6 seed finished them off (say what you will about those crazy Quebecois rioting after the first round, but I think they knew that would only have one shot at it this year - after Round 1).
The future of hockey (Crosby and that little bitch Malkin) are playing inspired hockey in the East and look to be the current favorite to take the cup. Out West, saw the 5 and 6 seeds win their quarterfinal matchups with the Flames almost making in to the semis as the 7 seed.

With the league discussing making the season longer, I wonder if that is not the wrong move. I don't think that TV viewership is up in the regular season and who honestly, even among the most diehard of fans, really cares if their team plays 82 or 84 games during the regular season? The members of this blog have many a time discussed [over many a brew] introducing a relegation-type system to the NHL. While this is probably not possible in the short-to-mid-term, since the current system has most of the minor league teams as feeder teams for the NHL, there is a way: Extend the playoffs and reduce the regular season. This would effectively create a second season that would follow a 65-70 game regular season. By extending the playoffs to 12 teams from each Conference, you would add a round to the playoffs. Except for the worst three teams in each conference, each team would still play at least 70-75 games in the season (meaning at most they would lose 4 homes games).

The variation on this would be to give teams 1-4 a bye in the first round and seeds #5-12 would play a 5-game series. This way there would be a serious push to try to be in the top 4 seeds (no more conference leaders being 1-3; pure points only for seeding) and the #11 and 12 teams would have a chance to advance. Another benefit would be that the Leaves would have to try even harder to not make the playoffs. There would be motivation at all levels. Except for Tampa Bay in the East and the LA Kings in the Campbell, everyone had a chance to be the #12 seed this past season.

  • The thing with the playoffs that I find great is that there's much less general goonery; yeah fighting is fun, once in a while, but virtually guaranteeing a fight every game is repetitive and it's always the same punks that do it.
  • The intensity level is higher in the playoffs. Since you aren't playing for points anymore, you need to score every night to win.
  • Anything can happen in the playoffs. Look at the Lyers. No one gave them much of a chance at the beginning of the season (hell, the beginning of the playoffs), but they're legitimate contenders at this point. And Montreal proved that having the best record in the conference means absolute dick in the playoffs.
Obviously there are many details to work out, but one of the biggest problems with hockey is the length of the season. I like watching as many games as possible, but each game only counts 1/82 towards the final result and with the idiotic scoring system, you could win 10 games and lose every other game in overtime and still possibly make the playoffs (20 points for the 10 wins and 72 points for 72 losses in OT would have been 8th place out West and 9th place in the Prince of Wales Conference this season). For the most part, the last 1/3 of the season that really counts (look at Ottawa who started off real strong and then almost didn't make the playoffs and then got bitch-slapped by Malkin & Co.). This would make the final 1/3 of the season start earlier and would make more games mean more.

Couple of notes:
  • The Pens fans may be as bad as the Lyers fans. I hope that these two teams kill each other in the playoffs, literally.
  • I will find myself in the unenviable position of rooting for the Campbell conference champ. As a Sabres fan, it is immoral to want to Stars to win and the Wings leave me indifferent. But I can't stand either of the Pennsylvania teams.
  • Please shut the fuck up about "state of hockey"[via Experts Blog]; no one ever talks this shit when the playoffs have 3 NY teams (Buffalo is part of that great state) or when the Rangers meet the Devils in the Conference finals (although they're in different states it's only like 16 miles between the two arenas). Meh, I guess if I lived in PA I would need some kind of vague hope too.
  • The people who troll on Yahoo! are possibly the stupidest people in the world. Jeff already talked about Yahoo! Answers!, but since the Great Wyshynski 's been over at Yahoo! Sports! NHL! Experts! Blog!!! I've been reading over there (nothing against Deadspin, it's just he's a great hockey mind) and the trolls that post comments are fucking retarded. Nearly every post has at least 5 people that respond "GOOOOOO PENS! Whooooo!" Isn't there somewhere else they can go that would bother me less?
[photo credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images]

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