Ramblings: Playoff format and reviewing predictions

Michael Clifford

2020-05-21

The new Dobber Hockey has launched! Our development team has been working at this for months and the day finally came yesterday as we were able to launch in full. We had a re-design months ago, but now this battle station is fully operation.

Again, kudos to our dev team as they're the ones that made this all happen. There may not be much to talk about hockey-wise right now, but there will be again, and we'll be here ready to serve our fantasy hockey readers.

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I've been thinking about the 24-team format that is being proposed for the 2019-20 season's playoffs. It's a real bad idea. Let's get into it.

For the record, my submission is a 20-team format. We don't need to worry about conferences or divisions if teams are going to be in a hub city. We have the top-12 teams (by points percentage) take a bye, and then 13v20, 14v19, 15v18, and 16v17 in best-of-threes to get down to 16 teams, and a normal playoff bracket. It gives the playoff bubble teams a chance while not expanding so far as to include 80 percent of the league in the postseason.

It's pretty obvious it's a money grab. The owners are upset they're taking a loss so they want to include more teams (some of whom are among the biggest markets in the league) and more games. Of course, if we add four teams, we're adding hundreds of points of potential contamination. There is this little virus going around right now that I hear is kind of bad. It's about money, not safety. Let's just all get on the same page here.

One area that works in favour of a 24-team, round robin format is giving everyone the same opportunity to play. These NHLers are going to be returning after months off and no exhibition season. If we were to do some sort of play-in, it would give the worse teams some games to knock the rust off. We know teams with time off are at a disadvantage, so whichever team gets through the play-ins would be much more likely to win their next game – the first in the real playoffs – than they otherwise would have. Maybe it's a small trade-off that needs to be made at the altar of economics (altarnomics?) but it's something that we should keep in mind.

Whatever they decide to do, it's going to be a nightmare. If we just stick with 16 teams, those that were on the rise get screwed (looking at you, Rangers). If we expand to 20, we probably have to have play-in games, which gives worse teams an advantage (if they get through). If we go to 24, we're adding considerably more people to an already undesirable situation in a transparent money grab.

No matter the final plan, this is going to be a nightmare for the teams, the players, and the league. I saw someone express it this way not long ago, "There are no good options, only varying degrees of bad." I think that's something we all need to get on board with here. If sports are going to return – and they are – then we need to come to terms with the fact that there are no good scenarios here. They're all bad, it's just some are worse than others. This isn't going to be a celebration; it's going to be harm reduction.

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Now that that's all out of the way, I