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02-26-2013, 11:01 AM
Enigma Publius
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Looking at the standings for five years (including this one), the most recent rumor (top three in EVERY conference qualify, the four remaining Wild Cards are distributed globally based on points) produces some disturbing results. Looking at this year's standings, the proposed Eastern division (for lack of a better moniker) would currently send six of its eight teams to the playoffs - resulting in, say, TB @ ANA. DET would likely be kicked into the Atlantic against NJD. In 2009-2010, the proposed Western Division would have sent six of its seven teams to the playoffs with the possible ANA @ WSH and CAL @ CHI opening round matchup.

Yikes! What a terrible, clumsy and unnecessarily complicated system!

However, the idea I've floated: restricting the top-three + Wild Cards to the Eastern and Atlantic divisions also has its issues. With strict adherence to #1 seeds vs. WCs; #2 vs. #3, last year would have resulted in what looks like a punishment to whoever the winner of the Eastern Division would have been (for argument's sake, I give Boston the nod over Detroit). Here's what the opening round would have looked like:

NYR˚ - 109 v. WSH - 92*
PIT - 108 v. PHI - 103

BOS˚ - 102 v. NJD - 102*
DET - 102 v. FLA - 94

˚ - Division winner
* - Wild Card

Detroit, by placing second, plays a team with eight fewer points than the division winner. You could rectify this by having the division winners simply play the teams with the two fewest point totals. But that potentially adds a layer of complexity to the system. However, it's far better than the mad, league-wide scramble for four wild cards.

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