NHL’s silly playoff format very definition of madness

NHL's stupid playoff format very definition of insanity

We all know that it has been stated the definition of madness is doing the identical factor repeatedly whereas anticipating a distinct outcome. I’m unsure whether or not that definition applies to the NHL and its playoff format or to me for writing about nearly yearly for the final decade.

Each, I think.

I get that the NHL does nothing to offer rewards for achievement and every part in its energy to degree the taking part in discipline. The punitive onerous cap, after all, is the essence of the league’s dedication to imposing restrictions that the majority considerably hamstring profitable groups extra rapidly than others.

So too is that this unbelievably unfair format underneath which two of the present greatest 5 groups within the league — fourth-overall Toronto and fifth-overall Tampa Bay — would meet within the first spherical. In the meantime, both the NHL’s Tenth-best or Eleventh-best group — Seattle and Vegas, respectively — could be assured to advance to Spherical 2 if that matchup holds.

These are inequities constructed into the 2-3 divisional first-round matchup. It occurs nearly each season. Final season, the Maple Leafs-Lightning first spherical matched the fourth-best and eighth-best groups. The format was completely different through the 2020-21 and 2019-20 COVID-impacted seasons. In 2017-18, the groups with the perfect information within the NHL, Nashville and Winnipeg, respectively, performed within the second spherical, whereas Boston and Toronto connected in a 4-7 matchup in Spherical 1.

In 2016-17, second-overall Pittsburgh confronted fourth-overall Columbus — sure, that’s right — within the first spherical. The 12 months earlier than that, the third-overall Blues met the fifth-overall Blackhawks within the opening spherical. That isn’t a quirk. It’s the characteristic of the format.

It could’t be about rivalries as a result of the NHL has performed its greatest to make these into anachronisms. There is no such thing as a reliable cause for the NHL to not undertake the 1-8 convention reseeding format that existed from 1999 to 2013, besides that might imply the top of brackets.

Sure, that’s it. Advertising brackets takes priority over aggressive integrity.

We all know that if the NHL can legitimize, say, the Twelfth-overall and 14th-overall golf equipment attending to the convention finals, that might bolster the message that for those who can simply make it, you’ve gotten an opportunity. That represents genetic engineering. It’s Ninth Avenue’s mantra.

However why on this planet do membership homeowners go together with this folly? Why would homeowners who spend to the restrict, rent the proper individuals, current a Grade A product (12 months after 12 months after 12 months), endorse a system through which their group has an inordinate probability of getting a most of 4 residence playoff dates?

One other season. One other match through which elite groups confront each other within the first spherical. Possibly the U.S. Open can current a first-round matchup between Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz in August. That might make as a lot sense because the NHL playoff format.

12 months after 12 months. That’s not merely insane. It’s asinine.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman
USA TODAY Sports activities

Greater than a good quantity of credit score is due Gary Bettman for his steadfast opposition to including a layer of play-in video games to the match that would embrace a group that could be Twenty second-overall. Why anybody believes {that a} group that finishes Tenth in a 16-team convention deserves a crack on the Stanley Cup is past me.

Ivan Provorov’s Satisfaction Evening opt-out in Philadelphia on Jan. 17 appears to have had a chilling ripple impact that not less than reached New York, the place the Rangers on Friday reneged on a public dedication to take the pregame warmup sporting pride-themed jerseys whereas utilizing pride-themed tape.

The group did acknowledge the LGBTQ+ neighborhood all through the Satisfaction Evening, however has repeatedly declined to offer an evidence for why the group took warmups of their designated Liberty jerseys with gamers utilizing customary black tape.

That was not by decree of the NHL. “Every membership is entitled to proceed as they see match,” deputy commissioner Invoice Daly instructed The Put up in an e mail trade through which he stated the league had not recommended groups in any method concerning this subject.

Following that sport Friday, two gamers individually instructed my colleague, Mollie Walker, and me, that the gamers had not been consulted and solely discovered they’d be sporting their customary warmups once they reported to the rink.

The inference is {that a} high-level govt feared that the prospect of an opt-out would grow to be divisive and intervened to stop that. It needs to be famous, nonetheless, that the Rangers wore rainbow-themed warmups and used rainbow tape in celebrating Satisfaction Evening the earlier two seasons.

Nobody will step ahead to take credit score or accountability for the decision. It’s as if it have been an Immaculate Determination, rendered by pill on a mountaintop.

However it’s about greater than the Rangers.

Artemi Panarin wears a Satisfaction-themed warmup jersey earlier than the Rangers performed the Capitals on Might 3, 2021.
USA TODAY Sports activities

Way more.

As a result of if one lone protester can shut down a league-wide program for worry of copycat conduct, then what are we doing right here?

What are we doing?

A query for our instances: Are the Islanders — 2-7-3 of their earlier 12 video games, Eleventh by factors proportion within the East previous to their match Saturday night time towards the Golden Knights — among the many NHL’s largest disappointments or are they precisely what people ought to have been anticipating?

I’m pondering each issues could be true without delay.

So, tanking 1984 fashion. Whereas the Penguins have been embarking on a shameless spree to draft Mario Lemieux, Devils coach Tom McVie was utilizing the prospect of No. 66’s arrival as a pregame rallying cry for marginal forwards akin to Rick Meagher, Gary McAdam and Glenn Merkosky to not enable him to come back to New Jersey and take certainly one of their jobs.

Wait, second-overall Kirk Muller wasn’t going to do the identical?

In recognition of No. 50, Will Cuylle’s NHL debut on Wednesday for the Rangers, rating the gamers who wore numbers within the 50s for our three groups:1. Ryan Lindgren, No. 55, Rangers; 2. Frans Nielsen, No. 51, Islanders; 3. Casey Cizikas, No. 53, Islanders; 4. Johnny Boychuk, No. 55, Islanders; 5. Jason Blake, No. 55, Islanders. Honorable Point out: Fedor Tyutin, No. 51, Rangers; Point out: Marty McSorley, No. 55, Rangers.

All proper, who do you’ve gotten again on the factors? Denis Potvin and Stefan Persson or Brian Leetch and Sergei Zubov?