Goodbye to the bye
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12-29-2012, 09:39 PM
God Bless Canada
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Bentley reunion
I think they actually finally got the format right, or as right as it can be. Pool winners get a bye. Second and third in each pool go to the quarter finals. Fourth and fifth go to the relegation round. One team gets relegated.
I believe that the last time in which the top team didn't receive a bye was in 2002. And in that year, Switzerland beat Slovakia in the quarter-final. (Although that was far from a sensational Slovakian entry).
As it stands right now, winning your pool means something. You get the extra day off, and you're guaranteed to play for a medal. It doesn't guarantee anything, but it does give you an advantage. The system works.
The odds of having a four beating a one are slim. It happened in 2002, but it would typically require one of two things happening:
1) The No. 4's goalie would need an incredible game;
2) You'd need to have a strong No. 4 against an underwhelming No. 1. (And remember, the Swiss won as many games (two) in their pool, as the Slovaks did in their pool, in 2002).
It takes away that extra day of rest, or an extra day of practice, for the pool winners. And it's one more game with an injury risk.
Keep the current format. The only change I would consider would be a best-of-three at a neutral site between the 10th place team from the main tournament, and the winner of the next division, to determine which team plays as the 10th seed at the WJC. The series would be played six to eight weeks before the tournament. As it stands right now, a team qualifies for the tournament a year in advance, and risks losing most of their top players before the next year's WJC. (A situation that occurred with France's 2002 entry). This might be financially and logistically impossible, but if it could happen, it should happen.
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