Having 2 conferences I don't really see a better or easier way to do it. Moving 3 teams from the East to the West to even the numbers isn't an option. Allowing the top team in each Eastern Conference division a Bye to sort of even out the numbers would set up a situation where teams would be playing any different numbers of games and series to reach the finals. Top 16 in the league isn't an option because all the teams don't play each other. The ECHL landscape changes every year and the playoff format keeps changing. Next year more CHL teams may switch and the West may have more teams, who knows.
Top 8 East and Top 8 West is simple and equal this year. Everyone knows going in what the format is so if you want to make it in, play better than the other teams. Life isn't "fair" and sports aren't "fair". The word fair is not included in the definition of the word competition.
And no I don't think all the kids should get trophies. But that is another subject all together.
Last edited by Steelhead16: 11-19-2012 at 10:39 AM.
I just don't see how it's "fair" that you could play abjectly poor in the West but still get in yet a better team in the East can play well and miss out.
Granted there's not much you can do until potential expansion in the West.
Without the East and West playing each other it is impossible to assess the talent level of either conference. Lets say that the 6 of the top 10 teams in the ECHL are in the West. Then you are saying that teams 7 and 8 in the Western Conf. playoffs got their "abjectly poor" records by playing the top teams in the league every game and don't deserve to be in the playoffs. While teams 7 and 8 in the East "earned" their way in by playing a majority of their games against lesser talent. It could be the exact opposite and your argument could be very valid.
Throw in the fact that if the NHL lockout ends in the middle of the ECHL season most ECHL teams will be gutted (to differing degrees) and starting over with guys who aren't playing anywhere right now.
Nothing is normal about this year so trying to compare apples for apples when you have apples and oranges is going to be impossible.
If the idea of the playoffs is to determine the best team, you need to include enough teams to be sure the best team isn't left out. Including eight out of 15 in the east certainly assures that the best team is in. In the west you could easily go with just 6, or even four teams. The problem would be that the West conference champion would be determined at least a week before the east, and they'd be sitting around getting healthy or getting rusty. A few years ago they tried having best of five in the east and best of seven in the west to fix that. Problem was, a couple bad bounces, some bad ice, a one game injury or callup, or other fluke can change a five game series and the East teams didn't think it was fair. I think the current system is the best compromise until either the league is balanced, or travel gets a lot cheaper.