Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The NHL's new playoff format (almost) gets it right

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.

>> Read the full post on Grantland


  1. My problem is it Punishes the Better teams while rewarding Weaker teams.
    Tampa SHOULD be playing Philadelphia. Montreal SHOULD be playing New York. Obviously losing Home Ice and playing a team with more points did not hurt Montreal, but playing the #4 seed over the #6 seed SURE HURT TAMPA.

    Also let look at Worst Case vs Best Case.
    Best Case
    Instead of Dallas making it another Pacific team makes it.
    Worst Case(using East as example)
    Overall Standing look like this
    #1 A
    #2 M
    #3 A
    #4 A
    #5 A
    #6 M
    #7 A
    #8 M
    Playoff Match Ups
    #1 vs. #7
    #2 vs #5
    #3 vs #4
    #6 vs. #8

    That WILL Happen!!!!!

  2. So... what happens if one of the wildcard crossover teams wins two rounds, then loses in the semi-final? Like the Stars this year? I think it would be bizarre to see a "Pacific Division Champions" banner hanging in the rafters of a team who doesn't play in the Pacific Division and never has.