I’ve heard a lot of hypotheticals for how the NHL will handle the end of the season and some of them are pretty wild. I’ve heard extending the playoffs and having a massive playoff to even shortening the race for the cup to only a handful of teams. First and foremost, I don’t want the playoffs shortened – I need more hockey.
Ideally, I’d like these guys to have a team camp for a week or so to get rolling again and then throw them into a playoff. What I would do though, is expand the playoffs to 24 teams- 12 from each conference. The NHL is pretty volatile in the standings and a lot more teams are in the race for the Wild Card spots so I think they expand it. 24 is a good number to form a bracket, you’d get eight play-in series before it forms into a standard 16-team bracket. I’ll drop the bracket for how it would look with the current standings. Oh, and I’d make the first round only a best-of-three series. Anything more than that, it would be a huge disadvantage for the play-in teams. On the contrary though, maybe this helps the play-in teams get their legs going and they can jump on the higher seeds that haven’t played yet. That’s the beauty of this – it’s unprecedented and nobody knows how it would play out!
I abandoned Gary Bettman’s new style of playoffs and went back to taking the top 12 teams from each conference rather than splitting it up by division. I ranked them off points, 1-12. In the case that the teams were tied in points, I went to wins as the tie-breaker.
This is an awesome hypothetical. For starters, I get to see the Blackhawks in the playoffs. I don’t think they make it out of the play-in round as they’ll go up against the stonewall netminding of Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin.
As for Vancouver vs Nashville, they were tied in points but the Canucks earned home ice by having more wins in the tiebreaker. That’s huge in my eyes considering the Nucks are so much better at home. I think they’d advance to take on the Blues. I’d probably take the Jets advancing over the Yotes thanks to Connor Hellebuyck’s solid season. Finally in the West, I could see the Wild upsetting the Flames.
As for the East, I’d be looking forward to the Rangers vs Leafs series. This would be a high scoring three-game series and being that it’s a three-game set, I think the Rangers could pull off the upset, especially with Toronto’s void at goalie. I’m intrigued by this Hurricanes vs Panthers matchup too although I think the Jerks get it done and advance to take on the Capitals.
And finally, for the East, I have the Penguins handling the Canadiens in two games while I’d take the Jackets over the Islanders. The Islanders haven’t won a game in like a month.
Let me know your guys ideas! Tweet me at @the_real_pruitt!