Friday, October 14, 2005

Is it time for a new playoff seeding system?

I was wondering last night, with the increase of inter-divisional play, whether it was time to scrap the 1-8 Conference playoff seeding. With 8 games against each divisional opponents 32 out of 82 games are within division. I, for one, think this is great. Increasing rivalries is great for improving regular season games. I am thinkin about going one step further. Make divisional games even more important by having divisional standing matter for the playoffs.

There are currently three divisions in each conference. I propose that the top two teams from each division make the playoffs and that the final two teams are chosen through Wild Cards. You could still have divisional winners guaranteed a top 3 seed to make a divisional win mean something - but I propose slotting in the the second place finishers according to points even if that places them behind a Wild Card.

I could be convinced to go one step further and have 4 divisions with the top 2 finishers in each getting in. Then having to go through the division during the playoffs. Nothing increases a rivalry better than meeting in the playoffs. Well, you actually have to lose to a team in the playoffs to have a rivalry. That is why the Leafs-Sens rivalry is one way right now.



  1. That explains the Leafs rivalry with New Jersey, Carolina, Philedelphia ... I mean it's nice that you can beat the Sens in the playoffs but what's the point if you are going to roll over and choke in the next round.

    8 Shots in game 7; McCabe playing Belak agaist Philly - or who could forget the mighty Hurricanes! Good thing Ottawa is around or the Leafs would be complete failures!

  2. You're not wrong about that Pale. But because Philly has beaten the Leafs a couple of times I would say that rivalry is stronger.

    I would love that Leafs to have big rivalries with both Ottawa and Montreal. I think it is good for all those cities.

    But I can't say yet I hate the Sens. Until they beat the Leafs how can I?

  3. I can't see that working, not when you have a team like Carolina a few years back coming in in 8th place and making it to the cup finals. You should be rewarded with the amount of points. Plus the divisions aren't equally spread out in terms of talent so you'll screw over teams that deserve it.

  4. Greg like you I can't seem to muster the same level of hatred for the Sens as their fans do of us.

    It is really quite amusing to see how worked up people get over hating the Leafs.

    I for one like the new look Sens. I think they have a much better chance than the old look Sens who are now called the Atlanta Thrashers and whom the Leafs are meeting tonight.

  5. Since the old look Sens usually punked the Leafs in the regular season you are expecting what result tonight?

  6. you are forgetting this is the new look leafs :)

  7. But I can't say yet I hate the Sens. Until they beat the Leafs how can I?

    I dunno. But a lot of your fellow fans refer back to Alfredsson's hit on Tucker, the lousy Sens fans, the arrogance of the Sens fans thinking that they draft well, Chara, our mere existence, etc. etc.

  8. My dislike of the Leafs came about long before Ottawa had a franchise - although I had some good feelings for the Leafs in the 80' but that could be because they had Bester in nets and I was in University and drinking alot!

  9. Greg, since I'm too lazy to do the work myself, I wonder what would have changed if your proposed system were in place during the last playoffs. Who would have been in that was out, or out that was in, and what would it have done to the seedings?

    That is, would it have really brought in a strong team that was "victimized" by a strong schedule, or would it not really have made much difference at the end of the day?

    I think I understand your idea, but I also think I need to be sold on why a weak team should be in the playoffs "just because" they ranked second in a losing division. If the second-ranked team in a division ranks ninth or worse overall, why cut them the slack? Doesn't the current approach already suggest that they must have lost most of their inter-division games (given that they could only lose so many intra-division games and still rank second in the division)?

  10. Doesn't make sense to apply it to earlier years since they did not have a schedule as unbalanced.

    And I realize weaker teams would get it. The trade-off is increased intensity in divisional games.

  11. The question has nothing to do with whether prior years' schedules were as unbalanced. The question is how much change are we really talking about with the proposal. How often would a division only have one team ranked in the top eight in the conference?

    Are we talking about kicking out an eighth-place team in favour of a ninth-place team? Or are we talking about dropping an eighth-place team to make room for a twelfth-place team? The latter implies that not only is the weak division being better represented, but that the teams in that division are ranked wherever, 12, 13, 14, and 15th respectively. (I.e. the rankings must be *, 12, 13, 14, and 15 in order for the second-best team in the division to be ranked 12th; the second-best team in any division can never be ranked worse than 12th.)

    But if all we're talking about is possibly dropping the then-current 8th place team out of the playoffs in favour of a team ranked either 9, 10, 11, or 12 at the end of the season, then why bother? You're just shufflin' deck chairs: it would not have made a difference.

    You have failed to sell me on the idea. There are few enough people today who think an 8th place team belongs in the playoffs: many people think it makes the NHL look like a joke. I cannot support a team ranked 12th (out of 15) being in the playoffs in their stead.