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Should the NHL change its playoff seeding system?


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Should the NHL change its playoff seeding system?

The next week will determine which exciting match-ups hockey fans can look forward to in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But some questions remain to be answered:

Which teams will squeak in and draw a top-flight team like the Canucks, Blues or Rangers?

Can the Panthers and Kings hold onto tenuous division leads?

Who will get home ice when the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins meet in the first round?

Wait… what?

The Penguins (with 102 points, good for fourth-most in the NHL this year) and Flyers (fifth with 101) are all but guaranteed to meet in the first round. The only possible way they don't is if the Rangers completely implode – meaning the Rangers would get one or the other - or the Devils suddenly catch fire.

Any way you slice it, two 100-point teams are meeting in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, while two teams that still have not clinched a playoff spot will be granted home-ice advantage in the first round.

So, what can the NHL do to fix the divide?

The league tried to alter the playoff format with its proposed realignment plan, but that was shot down because of the numerical imbalance between the four conferences. Instead, they ensured at least one more year in which a team that finishes with the sixth-worst record in its conference will have the luxury of home-ice for a potential Game Seven.

The simplest fix would be to implement the NBA's seeding system. The division winners and the top second-place finisher in the Conference are all granted home court in the first round, but are still ranked by record. As of right now, that would make the Penguins the second seed in the East with Boston and Florida getting three and four respectively.

But that, too, presents a problem with the Flyers (or Penguins, or Devils… take your pick) starting a series in Florida despite a potential points advantage of double-digits.

Or perhaps the league should guarantee division winners no more than a playoff spot. It's extremely unlikely that a team could win its division while not earning a playoff berth, though not mathematically impossible.

So, while the Red Wings (the league's sixth-best team) prepare for a first-round slugfest against the Predators (seventh overall) or the Blackhawks (eighth), five teams are still reaching for the stars. The Panthers, Capitals, Kings, Coyotes and Sharks – none of whom have locked up a playoff spot yet – all have a legitimate shot at home-ice advantage in the first round.

Changing the system as is ignores the weighted divisional schedule the league has implemented and matching the teams up by overall record regardless of conference would mean a lot more travel for a lot more teams.

But should the league consider one or the other to avoid the scenario where the league's 14th-best team gets an easier ride than the fourth-best?

Or, does winning your division warrant preferential treatment, regardless of a team's record?

How can the NHL fix its playoff-seeding format?

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I say that they should change it so that the spots are chosen by point totals and not have anything to do with division winners.

I agree with you 123, If you think about it, in theory,,in a albeit very weak division, a team could conceivably lose every game in OT,,,still end up with 82 PTs, be 1st in their division, and because of the seeding system, be seeded 3rd in the conference.

That ain't right.

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I as well think it should be based on point totals. Teams can still win their division with the most points out of the teams in that one division but it should not give them a pass into that spot. I recall a while back when my hockey Knowles was nil and I remember looking at the standings and being confused because even though one team had more points there were 2 teams a head of them in the standings with lower points. Obviously I figured it out but it just didn't seem logical to me that they would be at a disadvantage just because they were not top of their division.

Anyway, I can't see any issue going by points. There's no other weight to it that just the points where as it could be argued that a weaker division would be an advantage to a team and thus it would change the weight it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Playoff seeding should be based on point total, with the division winners only guaranteed a playoff spot, not top-three standing. A weak division leader is already rewarded by facing crappier competition more frequently (24 games per season against weaker opponents) -- why should they be rewarded even more with a favorable first-round matchup? Combined with the OT loser point, this is terrible Bettman-generated fake parity at its worst.

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This exactly. I've always hated the division winners getting 3rd spot crap. Especially this year, it's silly.

Just wondering how we would all feel if the Habs got the 3rd seed (see Flo.), with having less PTs. than some others who had more PTs. :rolleyes:;)

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Playoff seeding should be based on point total, with the division winners only guaranteed a playoff spot, not top-three standing.

I like this

I'd also like a way to mix the conferences before the final. Maybe something in the semi like best east vs second best west and best west vs second best east

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I wouldn't mind seeing a type of cross-over for the 1st RD. 1st in the East takes on the 8th in the west, 2nd in the E VS 7th in the west, After the first RD. (with 8 teams left) and the standings are adjusted, you have the 1st VS 8th 2nd, and 7th, and vice-versa for the West. 1st in the W, takes on the 8th in the E, and so on. That way, if you had 2 powerhouse teams in the same conference, they could possibly meet for the SC.

I would prefer the PTs. seeding system, but if they are going with the division leaders seeding. it could still work.

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Division leaders should be guaranteed a playoff spot, not a top 3 seed. It's really ridiculous that the Flyers-Pens have to play each other in the 1st round, and the Panthers get home ice. Both of the 6-3 seed matchups have the 6th seed with substantially more points.

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Playoff seeding should be based on point total, with the division winners only guaranteed a playoff spot, not top-three standing. A weak division leader is already rewarded by facing crappier competition more frequently (24 games per season against weaker opponents) -- why should they be rewarded even more with a favorable first-round matchup? Combined with the OT loser point, this is terrible Bettman-generated fake parity at its worst.

+1, this is one thing the NBA has right.

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+1, this is one thing the NBA has right.

Mind you, in an ideal world where I was in charge, I'd also trim the regular season down to 72 games and bring back the best-of-five in the first round of the playoffs. ;) Shorten both the seasons, thereby making them more meaningful, reducing player injury, and ensuring that we're not watching hockey in June, when ice surfaces are crap anyway.

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Mind you, in an ideal world where I was in charge, I'd also trim the regular season down to 72 games and bring back the best-of-five in the first round of the playoffs. ;) Shorten both the seasons, thereby making them more meaningful, reducing player injury, and ensuring that we're not watching hockey in June, when ice surfaces are crap anyway.

Now you're just making too many logical improvements to be taken seriously. :P

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Playoff seeding should be based on point total, with the division winners only guaranteed a playoff spot, not top-three standing. A weak division leader is already rewarded by facing crappier competition more frequently (24 games per season against weaker opponents) -- why should they be rewarded even more with a favorable first-round matchup? Combined with the OT loser point, this is terrible Bettman-generated fake parity at its worst.

I think this is the best opinion I've seen thus far.

You can't completely axe the idea of a division winner making the playoffs. They're split into divisions for a reason. If you wanted to completely disregard divisions, you should have every team play every other team the same amount of times.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Mind you, in an ideal world where I was in charge, I'd also trim the regular season down to 72 games and bring back the best-of-five in the first round of the playoffs. ;) Shorten both the seasons, thereby making them more meaningful, reducing player injury, and ensuring that we're not watching hockey in June, when ice surfaces are crap anyway.

A great idea. I've been talking to people about a shorter season for a long time, but they all think I'm an idiot for thinking of such a good idea, I guess :P

On a side note, how would you guys feel about the old system where teams were bracketed by divisions in the playoffs? I personally don't mind that system, it makes rivalries even more intense. I mean, we already face Boston almost every year anyways :P

It would just be tough to implement that system with 3 divisions in each conference...

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Mind you, in an ideal world where I was in charge, I'd also trim the regular season down to 72 games and bring back the best-of-five in the first round of the playoffs. ;) Shorten both the seasons, thereby making them more meaningful, reducing player injury, and ensuring that we're not watching hockey in June, when ice surfaces are crap anyway.

I support your idea of a 72 game season. I'm not so keen on your MLB-esque round 1 playoff structure, though... :P

It would just be tough to implement that system with 3 divisions in each conference...

What about this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Season_structure_of_the_NHL#Potential_2013-14_realignment

The new season structure that was talked about awhile ago.

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Guest habs1952

Mind you, in an ideal world where I was in charge, I'd also trim the regular season down to 72 games and bring back the best-of-five in the first round of the playoffs. ;) Shorten both the seasons, thereby making them more meaningful, reducing player injury, and ensuring that we're not watching hockey in June, when ice surfaces are crap anyway.

I'm having a hard time seeing an ideal world with you in charge. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Your post makes too much sense. It'll never happen. :angry:

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I'm having a hard time seeing an ideal world with you in charge. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Free alcohol for all my friends? :P

Seriously, though, I find the current playoff format, combined with the idiotic regular season, to be a long, boring slog, even when our team is still in the hunt. Why on earth do we have to be playing hockey into June? What's the point? I want a quick first round where you are obliged to be razor-sharp out the gate or else go home swiftly. Then we can settle into the longer quarter-final matchups.

But then, I also want the red line reintroduced for the purposes of two-line passes, so what do I know? ;)

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Free alcohol for all my friends? :P

Seriously, though, I find the current playoff format, combined with the idiotic regular season, to be a long, boring slog, even when our team is still in the hunt. Why on earth do we have to be playing hockey into June? What's the point? I want a quick first round where you are obliged to be razor-sharp out the gate or else go home swiftly. Then we can settle into the longer quarter-final matchups.

But then, I also want the red line reintroduced for the purposes of two-line passes, so what do I know? ;)

Shortened season,,,,,never happen, because the American teams need gate revenue.

Shortened POs,,,won't happen either, because PO home dates are "free money".

It's all about the money, IMO

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