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Tuesday’s FTB: If the wild card playoff stays, the NHL should make this one change

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This is, truly, one of the dumber ideas.

Boston Bruins v Washington Capitals Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

If the NHL is going to continue the divisional + wild card playoffs - shut up, they’re not bringing 1-8 back and it’s just as flawed a format - I think there’s one change that would really shake things up and accomplish two things that would make me happy:

  1. Cause utter chaos in the playoffs
  2. Make people even more mad online

So, I propose, if the NHL is going to keep the divisional + wild card playoff format, they need to remove the conference restrictions on the wild cards.

Yes, I want four wild card spots that can cross conferences.

This gives the top wild card a better shot that could be wasted on a lower seeded team. This could give the more powerful, talented conference more spots in the playoffs. Is the Western Conference really better? This would prove it.

We could end up with impossible Stanley Cup Finals like Canadiens vs Maple Leafs or Flames vs Oilers. Imagine a Western Conference team getting an Eastern Conference Champions banner to hang in their arena?

The way the NHL standings sit now, this is the current playoff situation:

Metro Division
WC1 - Carolina @ #1 - NY Islanders
#3 - Pittsburgh @ #2 - Washington

Atlantic Division
WC2 - Columbus @ #1 - Tampa Bay
#3 - Toronto @ #2 - Boston

Central Division
WC1 - Dallas @ #1 - Winnipeg
#3 - St. Louis @ #2 - Nashville

Pacific Division
WC2 - Arizona @ #1 - Calgary
#3 - Vegas @ #2 - San Jose

In this format, the Canadiens have more points than the Coyotes and Stars, but they miss the playoffs. In my chaos inducing format, they’ll get in and get the chance to make some noise.

Metro Division
WC2 - Columbus @ #1 - NY Islanders
#3 - Pittsburgh @ #2 - Washington

Now we have a chance for a Blue Jackets/Penguins second round. Much more appealing to fans and networks than a Penguins/Hurricanes series, because those two teams do not like each other.

Atlantic Division
WC4 - Dallas @ #1 - Tampa Bay
#3 - Toronto @ #2 - Boston

Our first cross over serves up the Stars as the Lightning’s punching bag in round one rather than the Blue Jackets. Ben Bishop gets a post-season homecoming, and an all-south first round match up gives pundits plenty to complain about during intermissions.

Central Division
WC2 - Columbus @ #1 - Winnipeg
#3 - St. Louis @ #2 - Nashville

The Blue Jackets went all in and their reward is getting to play against a weaker Central Division in the first two rounds, rather than a stronger Metro. This gives Jarmo Kekäläinen better odds to keep his job.

Pacific Division
WC3 - Montreal @ #1 Calgary Flames
#3 - Vegas @ #2 - San Jose

The Pacific gives Rogers the all Canadian match up they dream of every year. Montreal gets into the playoffs, knocking the Coyotes out of the post-season. If Carey Price plays like the Carey Price who’s worth $10M a year, better he go out west than stay on the east coast.

Looking at past seasons there are a few different teams getting in:

17/18 - Panthers in, Avalanche out

16/17 - Islanders in, Predators out
15/16 - Bruins in, Wild out
14/15 - No change
13/14 - No Change

So, am I crazy? Would this not be a better wild card option than the current one?


Should the wild card playoff spots cross over conferences?

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    Yes, bring on the chaos
    (151 votes)
  • 11%
    No, it’s just too much travel
    (35 votes)
  • 36%
    You made a bad thing even worse
    (106 votes)
292 votes total Vote Now

And now, the news,

Remember, the Leafs play tonight at 8PM, since they’re playing slightly more west than usual and take on the Predators in Central Time.