NHL  > General NHL  > A Victory in the Bank - Modified Playoff Format.
April 19, 2011, 08:20 PM
You could argue that the NHL allows too many teams into the playoffs. (So much so, that it dilutes the meaning of the regular season and does not reward top teams for finishing on top.)

I have what I think would be an interesting (and strategic) solution:

It's called: "A victory in the bank". What you do, is you allocate 1 "free" win to each of the top 4 teams in the conference. What this means is that if you are (based on the 2010-11 playoffs): Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, Pittsburgh, Vancouver, San Jose, Detroit, or Anaheim, you begin your first round playoff series up 1-0 -- without ever having played a game yet.

If that weren't enough, you could allow the 1st place team in each conference to use their "victory in the bank" in a later round instead of the first round! (This is the strategic part.) Thus, they could begin round #1 0-0, but use their extra victory in round #2 against a tougher opponent.

* OR * Optionally, you could allow the 1st place team in each conference to begin round #2 up 1-0 as well as round #1.

This would provide a tangible benefit to finishing at the top of the standings and would make it very difficult for a lower seeded team (which shouldn't win anyway) to win over a top seed.

I don't know about you, but I want to see the top teams going deep into the playoffs, not getting wiped out in round #1.
April 19, 2011  08:30 PM ET

And to clarify: Since most series are 2-2-1-1-1 format, if you start the series up 1-0, you still play the first two games at home. So if you win game #1, you'll go up 2-0 in the series. If you win game #2, you'll be up 3-0 in the series. The other team may get only one home game in the series before being wiped out.

April 24, 2011  09:01 PM ET

I just noticed something. In order to prevent a scenario where game #6 is in the other team's building, that game should be played at home. So if the series goes the distance (tied 3-3 after 5 games - because the top seed began the series 1-0) then game#6 is played on the top seed's home ice. (Hopefully that makes sense to everyone.) :)

April 26, 2011  01:44 AM ET

A simplier solution(though the greedy sob's won't let it happen) is to just let 12 teams in.

With your format,the underdogs are hard pressed to win the series.The most exciting part of playoff hockey is the upset. Vancouver would have clinched now with your format,and we wouldn't be able to see Chicago battling them out in a game 7 thriller.

Remember Philly's comeback against Boston last year?Regardless of who you are rooting for,those comebacks are classic.

April 26, 2011  09:50 AM ET
QUOTE(#4):

Remember Philly's comeback against Boston last year?Regardless of who you are rooting for,those comebacks are classic.

Love me some comebacks.

Except the one Tampa is pulling.

April 26, 2011  11:54 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

Love me some comebacks.Except the one Tampa is pulling.

I,m with you on the Tampa comeback.
I'd like to see Philly(if they pull it out)and Pittsburgh(same) play next round,but with both teams having all their stars.

April 26, 2011  02:50 PM ET
QUOTE(#6):

I,m with you on the Tampa comeback.I'd like to see Philly(if they pull it out)and Pittsburgh(same) play next round,but with both teams having all their stars.

That would be great. But Montreal would have to beat Boston for that to happen. As well as Sid and Geno getting miracle cures.

Maybe next year.

April 26, 2011  08:54 PM ET

I'm going to both agree and disagree with you guys. :) I like comebacks too, and they could certainly still occur in the later playoff rounds if the league adopted this change (obviously no chance they will but what the heck). The point is: What reward is there for finishing the season with 120 some odd points only to be dumped in the first round by a team that almost didn't even make the playoffs? To me, there has to be a benefit to finishing 1st vs 8th beyond 1 more game on home ice (which clearly means nothing most of the time).

 
April 26, 2011  09:00 PM ET
QUOTE(#4):

A simplier solution(though the greedy sob's won't let it happen) is to just let 12 teams in.With your format,the underdogs are hard pressed to win the series.The most exciting part of playoff hockey is the upset. Vancouver would have clinched now with your format,and we wouldn't be able to see Chicago battling them out in a game 7 thriller.Remember Philly's comeback against Boston last year?Regardless of who you are rooting for,those comebacks are classic.

How do you work out the first round if you have 6 teams per conference? :)

If the top four seeds began their first round series up 1-0, the matchups would now be:
- Vancouver vs Nashville
- San Jose vs Detroit
----------------------------------
- Washington vs Pittsburgh
- Philadelphia vs Boston

(I think. I didn't double check my seeds.)

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