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03-02-2013, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Rupertslander View Post
With some form of a four "Conference" alignment now appearing to be inevitable, the main issue to resolve appears to be the new playoff format.

As reported on TSN - - the League appears to be partial to a format that emphasizes in-conference matchups. That makes sense - we all want to keep travel to a reasonable minimum while ensuring the qualification odds are reasonably fair.

It appears the League wants to guarantee three teams per conference a playoff spot. That's reasonable enough. It leaves four "wildcard" places for the teams below third to compete for. So - the question is, how do match up the teams when there are odd numbers of teams from some conferences in the first and second rounds?
Ideas (mostly unrelated to each other) to consider:

1) LOCK the Pacific Conference/Division into a 4-team divisional playoff while allowing the other 3 confs/divs to do the wild-card thing. Presuming a 7-team division, this will give the Pacific an advantage in the long run (even if #5 would have made the playoff as a wild-card every so often). In exchange for this advantage, none of the Central and Eastern teams will ever have to make the long trip until the Stanley Cup Semis, and 3 divisions is a pretty wide base for wild-card competition.

2) If there is a cross-over to be had between two divisions, make matchups as close to 1v8, 2v7, etc... (based on regular season standings) as possible while only having the 1 cross-over series.

3) Forget about postseason "division" champions (put it out of your mind!) unless you are doing a strict divisional playoff. Replace this with "Stanley Cup Semifinalist" if you have to.

3b) This means that bracketing does not need to be done; re-apply pairing heuristics each round.

4) Suck it up and allow for the possibility of an Atlantic and Pacific team meeting in the first round. We calculated a 20% chance of this happening in a given year. And really this is not THAT much more horrendous than the Vancouver-Nashville possibility that exists in most of these other proposals (including the memo released proposal).

5) A league-wide reseeding in the Stanley Cup semifinals would theoretically allow any two teams from the same division to meet for Lord Stanley's Cup (presuming we do not keep a strict divisional playoff).

6) Moving Detroit or Columbus to the "Midwest" relieves the unbalanced conference thingy, and returning to the 2011-proposed schedule (for the West, at least) would save Detroit/Columbus from those many trips to the Pacific. Plus, what if the Coyotes go East... there needs to be a softer landing for Detroit/Columbus/Quebec in that "Midwest" division.

7) if there are 4 league-wide wildcards, always pair teams by division first and by West/East second. So, if there are 6 teams from the Atlantic division then they will play 3 series between them that first round. If there are 5 teams from both the Atlantic and Central/Adams then they will play 5 series between the two of them, while the "West" will play 3.

8) Suck it up and keep Divisional Playoffs. The current solution does not address the unequal number of teams in some divisions. With Divisional Playoffs all teams still have a simple understanding of what they need to accomplish to make the playoffs, and all teams in the same division will have near-identical schedules.

Last edited by Crayton: 03-02-2013 at 04:04 PM.
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