We’re about a week into the NHL playoffs, and so far we’ve seen just about everything we’ve learned to expect from the first round: a ton of overtime, legitimate bad blood, a few blatant cheap shots, some terrible goaltending, and every so-called expert shaking their head sadly while dropping their carefully considered predictions into a bonfire.
We’re also finishing off Week 1 of the NHL’s new playoff format, which was unveiled earlier this season after realignment left the league with uneven conferences. The system is structured like the old format we had until the mid-’90s, with the first two rounds of playoff matchups based on divisions instead of conferences, but with the added wrinkle of wild cards and the potential for crossovers.
And after having a week or so to see the new format in action, I have to say that I think that …
[Hands begin to shake.]
No … no, you can do this. Take a deep breath. They’re just words. You can string them together into this sentence.
[Sweat pours from brow.]
I think … I think the NHL may have done something right.
[Dives under table, waits for lightning to strike.]
Yes, while we at Grantland have been known to occasionally offer up a few words of constructive criticism to the league’s head office, it’s only fair that we also acknowledge when the league gets one right. And despite some early complaints, I’m going to make the case that the new playoff format is a good idea that fans should get behind.