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Flaws in the NHL Playoff Format

The playoffs are the most exciting time of the year. The 16 best teams in the league fight for the most famous trophy in the game, Lord Stanley. For many years, the playoff format has been setup to favour the teams who had the best season. In each conference, the top team would play the 8th place team in the first round, while the other series would be 2 vs 7, 3 vs 6, and 4 vs 5. This format was set up to reward the top teams for their outstanding seasons as they would be playing the bottom teams. in 2014, the league changed their format. The top three teams from each division qualify for the playoffs, while the rest of the teams in the conference fight for two wild card spots. Each wild card team will play the first place team from the two divisions, while the second and third place teams in each division face off against each other in the first round. The issue with this format is some divisions may be better than others, resulting in two excellent teams playing each other in round one.

Leafs forward Nazem Kadri has spoken out about his frustration towards this format as the Leafs are in this situation. With the leafs finishing off their best season as a team in decades, they are looking ahead into playoffs only to find that they will be seeing the Boston Bruins in the first round, a team who has had an even more impressive season than Toronto. The Leafs are currently sitting in third place in their division with 97 points. The Washington Capitals are sitting first in their division with 97 points, but will be playing one of the wild card teams, giving them excellent chances to move on past the first round. With this flaw in the playoff format, at least one outstanding will be eliminated in the first round, which many players and fans are not too thrilled about. Click here to read about Kadri’s thoughts on the playoff format.

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