Gee, lots of folks out there including those who wouldn’t really know a puck from a flying saucer think it would have been cool to have the Vancouver Canucks or whoever else may have finished 9th in the NHL’s Western Conference to earn a play-in best-of-three or single game against the 8th seed. Or maybe it’s the nine vs. ten (Vancouver this season) with the top seed and second seed getting a bye.
So let’s see, every year, ad nauseum, in a good way, we hear, “the first round is always the most exciting round”, or “the greatest upsets happen in the first round”. Two teams, typically starting the incredible Stanley Cup gauntlet, two to three days after the regular season ends.
Right now entering Tuesday, six of the eight playoff series are tied 2-2.
Don’t make me list other examples of the wonderment over the years because they’re endless and these people who love the playoffs the way they are, are correct.
You know what was great: the Vancouver Canucks making a courageous regular season run and falling short. You know why they fell short? They weren’t good enough.
East or west, do we really need another mediocre team or two sneaking into a play-in round so that ESPN can make some extra money and an NHL owner in a ‘less passionate’ market who’s losing his ass can make back a wee bit of cash with one or two playoff gates?
Let the ‘have-not’ owners who are only in it for the exit strategy of eventually selling their team at a much higher value, the reality behind the NHL’s welfare system where more than half the teams lose money, suck it up and sit out the playoffs if their team is not good enough.
Why the $^%*#*& would you ruin the greatest tournament in all of sports, the battle of attrition, the test of survival, the on-ice grind for the world’s greatest trophy so some donkey can make more money.
Here’s a goal: make the playoffs. Half in, half out. Perfect.
Don’t get all woo-woo about the bubble-Covid play-in nonsense. Not normal – nothing was normal.
If your team sucks, or kind of sucks, we don’t need to see you playing a meaningless playoff round that’s not really a playoff round, just so someone can make more cash.
Yes, the concept is all about the money, it’s always about the money, but in this case, it doesn’t need to be.
The play-in scenario: Instead of the current set-up, starting two or three days after the end of the regular season, the top seed gets to wait for two near-bottom-feeders as they battle it out in a single game* or a best-of-three for the right to bring their even more tired arses into a series.
One to three more nights so a TV network can make more bank and we get to suffer through some of the worst play-by-play in the history of televised hockey. Brilliant. (Thanks, I’ll watch the Canadian feed)
*so a team works it’s ass off for 82 games – too many, but that’s a different story – and they finish four points ahead of another team, but then they lose a one game playoff and their done. The lesser team, after six-and-a-half months of being average, wins the one game for the right to get their ass kicked by the top seed. F’ing brilliant.
Here’s an idea for a Vancouver Canucks play-in series with the team on the cusp: April 21st – Vancouver Canucks at Minnesota Wild, April 23rd – Vancouver Canucks at Calgary Flames, April 26th – Seattle Kraken at Vancouver Canucks, April 28th – Los Angeles Kings at Vancouver Canucks, April 29th – Vancouver Canucks at Edmonton Oilers.
Wow!! Whatayaknow. Drama. Win get in. Lose, take your sorry asses home. No bonus game(s) for mediocrity.