NHL Should Change Playoff Format
By Brandon Mileski
Kudos to the NHL for changing their All-Star Game format.
They’ve scrapped the Conference-versus-Conference format, and now will have a process where the Captains will select who will be on their respective teams. I applaud the League for coming up with a thinking-outside-the-box idea. The NHL All-Star Game, like most of the All-Star Games in sports, has become a yawn-fest. Not much interest from even their most loyal fans. Even if this idea fails, I commend the League for giving it a shot. It potentially will draw more interest from the fans, and give the fans and people like myself in talk radio, something to talk about prior to the game. Who should the Captains draft? Why did the Captain select that player over this player? The game could potentially create discussion, something that is desperately needed.
But I have another idea, one that would create much more discussion and give the league much more attention.
I first heard of this idea from former Golden Gopher Johnny Pohl and it involves changing the NHL Playoff format.
Now, it would still be eight teams from each conference, playing in a bracket-style tournament en route to winning the Stanley Cup. But instead of having the 1st place team in each conference play the 8th place team in each conference, and have the 2nd place team play the 7th, why not let the top teams in each conference choose their opponent?
So the format would be: The #1 seed gets to pick which team seeded in the #5-#8 range that they would want to play. Then the #2 seed would get to select. Then the #3 seed. And then the #4 seed would be stuck with the last team not selected.
Let’s face it: Just because a team is the 8th seed, doesn’t mean they’re the worst team in that conference. Sometimes injuries hurt them during the regular season, and now they’re fully healthy. Or vice versa; The #5 seed now is ravaged with injuries and arguably could be the worst team in the playoffs. Some teams just get hot at the end, while others get cold.
Under this format, the #1 seed would get to pick the opponent they would want to play, instead of being forced to play the #8 seed, which isn’t always the worst team.
Plus, just think of all the attention this would draw!
You do a Special Selection Show at 7pm on the Sunday the Regular Season ends, and have a representative from each playoff team pick their opponent LIVE. It would draw decent ratings and bring in more revenue. Plus, think of all the discussion and attention it would attract. Before the show airs, fans from each team would be discussing who they would like to see selected. After the show airs, fans and media would break down why one team selected another. As a Wild fan, if they happened to win the Division and make the playoffs, how cool would it be to breakdown which team the Wild should select as their opponent?
Plus, there’s the revenge factor. Will teams that were selected first be slighted? It could possibly create more animosity and emotion for all of the playoff matches.
Just like the All-Star Game, it’s an Outside-of-the-box idea, one which I believe would reap rewards for the National Hockey League.
Brandon Mileski can be heard weekdays noon-3 and can be followed on twitter @BMileskiKFAN.