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The new playoff format - specifically, the wildcard/crossover rule

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02-26-2013, 06:44 PM
  #1
Rupertslander
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The new playoff format - specifically, the wildcard/crossover rule

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 - http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=416857 - 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.

For those who haven't already seen it, here is my solution: first, for every conference regardless of the number of playoff teams, first place in a conference always plays the bottom playoff team from the same conference, thus ensuring first place will never, ever have to leave its own conference for the first round (probably to be called the "Wildcard Series"). Then, for conferences with four or more playoff teams, second plays the second from bottom playoff team. In the rare circumstance that there be are six or seven teams from one conference in the playoffs, then third in that conference will play the third from bottom playoff team.

That process will, of course, leave the "middle seed" playoff teams from conferences with an odd number of playoff teams - it is these teams that will play one another in interconference or "crossover" series. Home ice IMHO should always be determined by regular season record, not conference ranking.

If there were a crossover team from every conference, then these would usually be seeded, based on regular season records, 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3, but with the caveat that the seeding would be changed to 1 vs 3 and 2 vs 4 if that matched up the teams from the western conferences and the eastern conferences against one another.

For the second round (probably to be called the "Conference Series"), we essentially repeat the same process. This means that in the second round, a first place team would not have to play in a crossover series unless it was the only surviving team from the conference. It also means the winners of the crossover series from the first round would not necessarily have to play crossover series again in the second round.

For the third round (the Stanley Cup Semi-Finals), the teams should be seeded based on their regular season records - 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3, regardless of conference rank and/or affiliation.

I look forward to your feedback - please keep your replies on topic.

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02-26-2013, 07:02 PM
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MountainHawk
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The proposal I read would be 2 would play 3 in each division, and the 1 with more points would play the 5 seed, and the 1 with less points would play the 4 seed.

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02-26-2013, 07:09 PM
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I don't like it for these following reason: you could have a top ranked division winner Chicago playing lower ranked wildcard from pacific team such as L.A. while Pacific top seeded Vancouver plays the higher ranked wildcard from Nashville while the 2nd seeded and 3rd seeded divisional opponents get easier travel. This is a flawed format even 4 teams from each division made the playoffs even the wild card just happen to be lower ranked wild card team and are going to cross over while the higher ranked wild card team also cross over to other division for the duration of the playoffs. It has to be a clause in the format where all division 4th seeded remains if the other division made the higher ranked wild card 4th seeded team. The wild card team could face each other in the third round, Nashville vs LA and what that format not fair is that they travelled too much and will be worn out by the time they reach the SCF.

However, you apply this system with 5 teams from a division and 3 other teams from other division then I would be in favor of such format with one catch: I would rather to have the top seed division whose division of 3 teams made the playoffs makes the choice for the travel purpose, 1 v 3 or wildcard team while division's second seed team will face either 3rd or wild card team for the first round.

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02-26-2013, 07:49 PM
  #4
Rupertslander
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainHawk View Post
The proposal I read would be 2 would play 3 in each division, and the 1 with more points would play the 5 seed, and the 1 with less points would play the 4 seed.
The TSN article says nothing's final yet. I hope Bettman at least has a minion reading these posts.

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02-26-2013, 07:56 PM
  #5
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Love that the big idea is essentially to rip off the CFL's playoff format.

If they're sticking with the division/conference stuff, then just leave the playoffs as they are.

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02-26-2013, 07:57 PM
  #6
Rupertslander
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolboarder View Post
I don't like it for these following reason: you could have a top ranked division winner Chicago playing lower ranked wildcard from pacific team such as L.A. while Pacific top seeded Vancouver plays the higher ranked wildcard from Nashville while the 2nd seeded and 3rd seeded divisional opponents get easier travel. This is a flawed format even 4 teams from each division made the playoffs even the wild card just happen to be lower ranked wild card team and are going to cross over while the higher ranked wild card team also cross over to other division for the duration of the playoffs. It has to be a clause in the format where all division 4th seeded remains if the other division made the higher ranked wild card 4th seeded team. The wild card team could face each other in the third round, Nashville vs LA and what that format not fair is that they travelled too much and will be worn out by the time they reach the SCF.

However, you apply this system with 5 teams from a division and 3 other teams from other division then I would be in favor of such format with one catch: I would rather to have the top seed division whose division of 3 teams made the playoffs makes the choice for the travel purpose, 1 v 3 or wildcard team while division's second seed team will face either 3rd or wild card team for the first round.
I do not like the idea of teams ever being able to "choose" their playoff opponents in that way. The one given in my suggestion is that first place earns you the right to stay in your own conference for the first round and you play the bottom playoff team from your conference.

So - if you finish first and five teams total make the playoffs from your conference, then you don't play fourth, you play fifth as they have fewer points.

And - if you finish first and only three teams total make the playoffs from your conference, then you're not forced into a crossover series, you play third and stay in your conference.

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02-26-2013, 08:03 PM
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Langdon Alger View Post
Love that the big idea is essentially to rip off the CFL's playoff format.

If they're sticking with the division/conference stuff, then just leave the playoffs as they are.
As I have said elsewhere, this format I am suggesting has major differences to the CFL format. The "wildcards" would be the four teams below third with the best records, but, at least in my suggestion, the "crossover" or "crossover series" would not normally involve "wildcard teams" - they would involve teams finishing second and third in their conferences at least for the first round.

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02-26-2013, 08:05 PM
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What is the friggen point of going to a 4 conference system if you're going to give the last spot to a crossover wild card team? This is absolutely retarded. The only reason to go with a 4 conference playoff is travel. The crossover negates that.

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02-26-2013, 08:16 PM
  #9
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Rupert:

Can I ask this again:

Let's say the CENT and ATL have 4 teams.
But, the PAC ends up with 1Van, 2Cal, 3SanJose
and the EAST 1Mont, 2Tor, 3 Bos, 4Ott, 5Det

You are proposing that the first round be:
CENT & ATL: all division series?
Then, Van v SJ; Mont v Det; Tor v Ott; Cal v Bos
Correct?

My question is: What happens if Boston wins?
It appears the 2nd round is:
CENT & ATL: Still Divisional
EAST: whoever survives the Mont/Det and Tor/Ott series
and then you have left something like: Van v Bos

I say: If this is what you propose, then it's not fair to Boston to subject them to 2 possible cross-continental series.

I say: It's better to have the #5 team subject to that possibility. So, here:
Van v Det; Cal v SJ; Mont v Ott; Tor v Bos.

It's true that Vancouver has to play across the continent in Round 1. But, it could only be round 1. If they win, then all 2nd round series are within the division. If the wild-card team wins, then they have to play across the continent again. But, that's fair. They are the special case, after all.

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02-26-2013, 08:19 PM
  #10
Rupertslander
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silvercanuck View Post
What is the friggen point of going to a 4 conference system if you're going to give the last spot to a crossover wild card team? This is absolutely retarded. The only reason to go with a 4 conference playoff is travel. The crossover negates that.
The crossover doesn't "negate" the overall travel advantages - there would be no more than two crossover series in any playoff round and on average there would probably be less than one. If nothing else, the point of the crossover is the players will have it no other way - they want all teams to have equitable odds of making the playoffs.

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02-26-2013, 08:31 PM
  #11
Rupertslander
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MNNumbers View Post
Rupert:

Can I ask this again:

Let's say the CENT and ATL have 4 teams.
But, the PAC ends up with 1Van, 2Cal, 3SanJose
and the EAST 1Mont, 2Tor, 3 Bos, 4Ott, 5Det

You are proposing that the first round be:
CENT & ATL: all division series?
Then, Van v SJ; Mont v Det; Tor v Ott; Cal v Bos
Correct?

My question is: What happens if Boston wins?
It appears the 2nd round is:
CENT & ATL: Still Divisional
EAST: whoever survives the Mont/Det and Tor/Ott series
and then you have left something like: Van v Bos

I say: If this is what you propose, then it's not fair to Boston to subject them to 2 possible cross-continental series.

I say: It's better to have the #5 team subject to that possibility. So, here:
Van v Det; Cal v SJ; Mont v Ott; Tor v Bos.

It's true that Vancouver has to play across the continent in Round 1. But, it could only be round 1. If they win, then all 2nd round series are within the division. If the wild-card team wins, then they have to play across the continent again. But, that's fair. They are the special case, after all.

The second round using your example and a Boston victory would be the "middle" seed again of the three remaining from the East - if the top seeds in the East also win then the Boston would not get the crossover series again, Toronto would.

While in my example a third place team could play two crossover series in a row, they would also have the chance to get home ice advantage from third place, which the alternative doesn't provide.

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02-26-2013, 08:36 PM
  #12
MNNumbers
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rupertslander View Post
The second round using your example and a Boston victory would be the "middle" seed again of the three remaining from the East - if the top seeds in the East also win then the Boston would not get the crossover series again, Toronto would.

While in my example a third place team could play two crossover series in a row, they would also have the chance to get home ice advantage from third place, which the alternative doesn't provide.
Thanks. So, you doing effectively a reseed after Round One?

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02-27-2013, 10:08 AM
  #13
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If they go to a 4 division proposal as is rumoured, I can't see why they just can't go with 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3 divisional matches for the 1st round of the playoffs. It worked well in the 80's, why not now?

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02-27-2013, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by tony d View Post
If they go to a 4 division proposal as is rumoured, I can't see why they just can't go with 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3 divisional matches for the 1st round of the playoffs. It worked well in the 80's, why not now?
Not only did it work in the 80s, it worked with uneven divisions. I don't know why there's so much bellyaching of "unfairness" about uneven divisions now when it was like that for over 20 years without complaint.

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02-27-2013, 12:16 PM
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Initially 'wildcard' was brought up because of the imbalance of the 7/7/8/8 thing. That was at least reasonable. With the current top 3 guaranteed, next 2 in each conference, wild... It negates the original gripe regarding chances of making the playoffs. The latest matrix as a whole is a mess from my POV regardless

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02-27-2013, 12:31 PM
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolboarder View Post
I don't like it for these following reason: you could have a top ranked division winner Chicago playing lower ranked wildcard from pacific team such as L.A. while Pacific top seeded Vancouver plays the higher ranked wildcard from Nashville while the 2nd seeded and 3rd seeded divisional opponents get easier travel. This is a flawed format even 4 teams from each division made the playoffs even the wild card just happen to be lower ranked wild card team and are going to cross over while the higher ranked wild card team also cross over to other division for the duration of the playoffs. It has to be a clause in the format where all division 4th seeded remains if the other division made the higher ranked wild card 4th seeded team. The wild card team could face each other in the third round, Nashville vs LA and what that format not fair is that they travelled too much and will be worn out by the time they reach the SCF.

However, you apply this system with 5 teams from a division and 3 other teams from other division then I would be in favor of such format with one catch: I would rather to have the top seed division whose division of 3 teams made the playoffs makes the choice for the travel purpose, 1 v 3 or wildcard team while division's second seed team will face either 3rd or wild card team for the first round.
I agree with this 100%. Top seeds should play the lowest Playoff seed in their own Division. If that means 1 vs 5 and 1 vs 3, then fine.
It's the Division record that should count in Divisional Playoffs, and use the crossover for the middle teams, within which Home-ice would be decided by which one of them has the best record.

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02-27-2013, 12:35 PM
  #17
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It seems a simple solution would be a CFL-style crossover where the 5th seeded team of Division X assumes the position of the 4th seed of Division Y and stays there for the remainder of the playoffs.

For example, under proposed realignment the East would have looked as follows (playoff teams are bolded, wild card teams are in italics)

Atlantic
NY Rangers - 109
Pittsburgh - 108
Philadelphia - 103
New Jersey - 102
Washington - 92

Carolina - 82
NY Islanders - 79
Columbus - 65

Central
Detroit - 102
Boston - 102
Florida - 94

Ottawa - 92
Buffalo - 89
Tampa Bay - 84
Toronto - 80
Montreal - 78

My first thought was that Washington would take the 4th seed in the Central Division and play Detroit and then the winner of Boston/Florida if they advanced. On the other hand, New Jersey would play the NY Rangers.

As an aside, last year's Stanley Cup Final would have featured two Wild Card teams.

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02-27-2013, 12:42 PM
  #18
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Originally Posted by MuzikMachine View Post
It seems a simple solution would be a CFL-style crossover where the 5th seeded team of Division X assumes the position of the 4th seed of Division Y and stays there for the remainder of the playoffs.
That's pretty much what's planned, though apparently only Round by Round, not necessarily for the whole Playoffs.

Still don't like it though. If Chicago, for example, wins the Regular Season West, they shouldn't have to play LA in the 1st Round.

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02-27-2013, 12:45 PM
  #19
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I wonder if the PA might try to force a 2-3-2 series format on the owners for series involving a crossover team to bring down travel. The owners sure as hell wouldn't like it, but it would be a reasonable request from the players' perspective if they're so concerned with travel. You can't appeal to travel concerns by having division-based regular season and playoffs, then have Vancouver/Nashville or San Jose/St. Louis criss-crossing the continent four times.

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02-27-2013, 12:46 PM
  #20
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Originally Posted by Rupertslander View Post
I do not like the idea of teams ever being able to "choose" their playoff opponents in that way. The one given in my suggestion is that first place earns you the right to stay in your own conference for the first round and you play the bottom playoff team from your conference.

So - if you finish first and five teams total make the playoffs from your conference, then you don't play fourth, you play fifth as they have fewer points.

And - if you finish first and only three teams total make the playoffs from your conference, then you're not forced into a crossover series, you play third and stay in your conference.
Me neither.

With the wild card, I hope if it goes through it ONLY applies when 5 teams from one division get in and 3 from the other. If it is 4 and 4, do not have any cross-over. Just have 1v4, 2v3 and the winners play.

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02-27-2013, 12:47 PM
  #21
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Originally Posted by Buck Aki Berg View Post
I wonder if the PA might try to force a 2-3-2 series format on the owners for series involving a crossover team to bring down travel. The owners sure as hell wouldn't like it, but it would be a reasonable request from the players' perspective if they're so concerned with travel.
Why wouldn't the owners like it? It is one less flight for which they have to pay if the series goes 5 games or 7 games.

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02-27-2013, 01:06 PM
  #22
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That's pretty much what's planned, though apparently only Round by Round, not necessarily for the whole Playoffs.

Still don't like it though. If Chicago, for example, wins the Regular Season West, they shouldn't have to play LA in the 1st Round.
Definite disadvantage travel wise for the Western conference since the east would have a guarantee of being in the same time zone.

Just make it a league wide table so any division can end up playing any otehr diviision. Maybe top two in each division fill spots 1 to 8 then 9 to 16 the next best 8 teams. IIRC there was a season or two where it was a 1 to 16 format.

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02-27-2013, 01:07 PM
  #23
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I hope there wont be any wild card spot. That sorta ruins the aspect rivalry

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02-27-2013, 01:16 PM
  #24
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I hope there wont be any wild card spot. That sorta ruins the aspect rivalry
The NHLPA shot down the last proposal party because they didn't like the playoff setup. Why would they go along with the same plan now?

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02-27-2013, 01:29 PM
  #25
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I hope there wont be any wild card spot. That sorta ruins the aspect rivalry
How does it ruin it; you still get a minimum 6/8 Divisional matchups in the 1st Round (perhaps as many as 8/8), and in the 2nd Round, a minimum of 3/4 Divisional matchups (again, perhaps 4/4).

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