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Rite of Spring 2019: The Chase for the Stanley Cup

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At least Calgary won a game in their playoff series?

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33 minutes ago, sohiosportsfreak said:

I think the Flames' loss is bigger than Tampa's. They lost to a team who was basically ranked ninth. The Jackets were technically ranked fifth.

 

SMH, NHL playoff seeding is a joke.

 

Colorado's season was tanked by a miserable record in 3-on-3 hockey. They had a winning record in games that ended in regulation, which is the only thing I care about these days when it comes to judging wins and losses in the regular season.

 

Frankly, I'm not surprised at all that Colorado won that series. The Flames don't have a roster built to succeed in the playoffs. Finesse hockey doesn't work and their top line players aren't particularly good at playing in their own end. 

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12 hours ago, Ice_Cap said:

That was an ugly game, but I'll take it. Close it out at home boys, I can't handle another game seven against the Bruins.

Go Leafs go!

 

"Hold my beer."
-Tampa Bay Lightning

 

 

It’s friggen going 7 because it always goes 7. Toronto has been far and away the better team all series, so theoretically they should win - and probably will. The difference for me has been Babcock/Cassidy. Babcock is putting on a coaching clinic and all Cassidy can do is tell them to dump, chase, lose the puck battle, repeat. Absolutely zero creativity. Marchand and Pastrnak are getting outworked and outplayed in every aspect. Lots of respect to Toronto for stifling the best line in hockey.

 

Let’s talk officiating again. It’s awful. The first 2 Boston powerplays were really bad calls, then they missed a blatant boarding against Pastrnak only to be bailed out by a Marner DOG.

 

I’m up in the air on that GI non-call. Rask was never going to make that save, but it could’ve gone either way. Bruins fans will blame that call for the loss of the game and possibly the series - completely ignoring the gift calls they got and couldn’t capitalize on. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Kramerica Industries said:

Frankly, I'm not surprised at all that Colorado won that series. The Flames don't have a roster built to succeed in the playoffs. Finesse hockey doesn't work and their top line players aren't particularly good at playing in their own end. 

 

The Flames top line guys were invisible.

 

It’s a Saturday so the local radio guys aren’t in and I’m not back in Calgary yet so I don’t entirely know what the Calgary media is saying, but I think there are going to be questions about people like Monahan and Gaudreau.

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What the NHL needs to do:

-2 points for a regulation win

-1 point for an overtime/shoot out win

-0 points for a loss

 

1 through 8 playoff seeding in each conference. 

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23 minutes ago, Wings said:

What the NHL needs to do:

-2 points for a regulation win

-1 point for an overtime/shoot out win

-0 points for a loss

 

1 through 8 playoff seeding in each conference. 

I'd prefer:

 

-3 points for a regulation win

-2 points for an OT/SO win

-1 point for an OT/SO loss

-0 points for a regulation loss

 

This will mean that every game has the same effect on standings, no free points for anyone.

 

Keep the same playoff qualification rules, but seed the bracket 1-8.

 

But they won't. Why? The current points system artificially keeps more teams in contention for the playoffs longer. That is proven to translate to higher attendance and viewing numbers, overall.

 

The league also loves to shove these divisional rivalries down our throats. I haven't seen any data that shows if it's beneficial or not.

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1 hour ago, Wings said:

What the NHL needs to do:

-2 points for a regulation win

-1 point for an overtime/shoot out win

-0 points for a loss

 

1 through 8 playoff seeding in each conference. 

 

This was intriguing to me. So I put it to the test with this years results:

6CyfdNC.png

 

Some very interesting results:

  • Pittsburgh left out all together (head to head tiebreaker goes to Montreal)
    • Colorado makes the playoffs in the west with 71 points, Pittsburgh eliminated in the east with 81 points...
  • Three way tie for second in the Metro (I broke these ties by number of reg wins)
  • Winnipeg wins Central with head to head tiebreaker over Nashville
  • East bracket is completely changed. West bracket swaps Vegas and STL.

 

Really shows how Tampa and Calgary dominated in the regular season making their early exits that much more glaring

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55 minutes ago, BeerGuyJordan said:

The league also loves to shove these divisional rivalries down our throats. I haven't seen any data that shows if it's beneficial or not.

Well it sure as heck worked, my hatred for the Penguins was at an all-time high after Game 1 of last year’s series. 

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The current playoff system leaves a lot to be desired but I don’t think it would be as bad if the NHL went to simple wins and losses. 

I get that there are some people who don’t like the shootout, but the point of it was to eliminate ties. To have a definitive winner and looser in each game. So if you’re going to run with that? Go to straight wins and losses. 

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I like the 1-8 system because then there's a chance of having an actual divisional rivalry in the conference final. That would be a heck of a series.

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3 hours ago, speedy said:

 

It’s friggen going 7 because it always goes 7. 

In that case? 

takes up drinking again

 

3 hours ago, speedy said:

Toronto has been far and away the better team all series, so theoretically they should win - and probably will. The difference for me has been Babcock/Cassidy. Babcock is putting on a coaching clinic and all Cassidy can do is tell them to dump, chase, lose the puck battle, repeat. Absolutely zero creativity. 

Babcock’s always known what it takes to get the most of out of his lines. If Toronto loses this series it won’t be because of coaching.

My big concern is that the Bruins just know how to beat the Leafs. The Leafs have shown remarkable improvement over last year, answering every bad game with a strong showing. Compared to last year where they let the Bruins pants them two games in a row before they decided to start playing like a playoff team. 

So I’m certainly happy to see this Leafs come out and play Boston like they know they can beat them, but I’m too gunshy about this Bruins team. They always seem to know how to upend the Leafs that makes me perpetually nervous facing them. 

 

3 hours ago, speedy said:

Let’s talk officiating again. It’s awful.

It’s been garbage, agreed. I guess my main thing is that it’s even-handed garbage. I suppose that’s the best way to have bad officiating? 

 

3 hours ago, speedy said:

I’m up in the air on that GI non-call.

Me too to be honest. If that had gone against Toronto I don’t know if I could argue against it. Just like I can’t argue against it going for Toronto. It was a very borderline case that was honestly a 50/50 tossup. I’ll take the fact that the coin landed in the Leafs’ favour this time, but it was a really up in the air decision. 

 

7 minutes ago, NoE38 said:

I like the 1-8 system because then there's a chance of having an actual divisional rivalry in the conference final. That would be a heck of a series.

That can still happen. The East will have an all Metropolitan Division Final if the Blue Jackets get past either Boston or Toronto. 

Meanwhile the West will have an all Central Division Final if Colorado gets passed either Las Vegas or San Jose. 

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The only thing sort of sad about the Flames losing is we don’t get to see more of those amazing throwbacks more. Those really need to become the primaries again. 

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My biggest gripe about the current system is that it's trying to compromise between the divisional format of the 80s and the conference-based setup of the 90s and 00s, and like hybrid icing trying to compromise between no-touch and touch, it doesn't really replace either very well in my opinion: it's locked by divisions except for the wildcard team that usually crosses over, which basically defeats the entire purpose - teams can't even hang a Division Champions banner if they make the conference finals because of that, the way they could in the 80s - and even though you still get the top 8 in each conference making the playoffs, their matchups are often wildly different from who they quote-unquote "should" be facing in a conference-based format. I'm not even getting into how divisional & conference standings are relatively simpler to read as a fan and nicer looking as well, but having to account for wild cards is an extra complication that makes it tougher than it has to be. If they wanted the divisional playoffs back, they should've just made them so, instead of going to this half-and-half system that pleases nobody.

(And I'll just head this off now: a league-wide 1-16 format would be a travelling nightmare that'd be even worse, just in a different way: imagine a situation where an Eastern team has to face the Canucks in the first round, and then the Kings in the second. Nuff said.)

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2 hours ago, Ice_Cap said:

The current playoff system leaves a lot to be desired but I don’t think it would be as bad if the NHL went to simple wins and losses. 

I get that there are some people who don’t like the shootout, but the point of it was to eliminate ties. To have a definitive winner and looser in each game. So if you’re going to run with that? Go to straight wins and losses. 

 

If my two options would be to either have ties, which likely reflect an evenly-played game where neither team dominated the other, or have shootouts determine who gets all the points, which is nothing more than a skills competition affecting team results, then the shootout needs to be immediately abolished. 

 

North Americans and their bizarre hatred of "ties". Mind-boggling. 

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How about stop making OT W/L it's own thing, and just leave it as a regular win/loss  if it goes to OT. Like most sports do. 

I always found it weird about hockey to begin with. 

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1 hour ago, Kramerica Industries said:

 

If my two options would be to either have ties, which likely reflect an evenly-played game where neither team dominated the other, or have shootouts determine who gets all the points, which is nothing more than a skills competition affecting team results, then the shootout needs to be immediately abolished. 

 

North Americans and their bizarre hatred of "ties". Mind-boggling. 

I’m not necessarily disagreeing. I’m saying one way or another. Either have the shootout and go to straight W-L or have ties and keep the points system. 

The NHL, as usual, picks the worst of both. 

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2 hours ago, AustinFomBoston said:

How about stop making OT W/L it's own thing, and just leave it as a regular win/loss  if it goes to OT. Like most sports do. 

I always found it weird about hockey to begin with. 

 

DGB explained this one time in an old Grantland article, and at the moment I can be bothered to look it up, but up until around 1999, this was the situation. Regulation or OT, winner gets two, loser zero, and ties go evenly. The NHL decided to make OT games worth three points...probably because (I'm thinking as I'm writing here) that gave an incentive for teams to go for the win in OT rather than being content to take the one point; if they lost, they still got something rather than nothing.

 

The immediate problem with this logic, is that it meant that teams wouldn't take risks late in regulation in tie games anymore because why risk a point when you don't have to? I mean, if a regulation loss or OT loss was identical, then if you lost the game with 90 seconds remaining or lost in OT was useless; if anything, you at least have those 90 seconds to try and tie it up again. 

 

The bigger problem with this logic would later come with the fact that this was a pre-shootout era implementation that was unadapated for the shootout era. Because a game could still end in a tie and two points dispensed before, but now that ties were out of the equation? The extra point could be awarded based on which team either has better shooters or a better one-on-one goaltender. To the NHL's credit, they did (eventually) establish the ROW component* (something which has been in need of further adaptation in the 3-on-3 overtime era but, of course, the NHL is several years behind on) to categorize shootout wins as less than regulation/OT games for tiebreaker purposes, but that has rarely ended up mattering in most cases. 

 

Point is, as usual, the NHL made one decision to fix a problem that wasn't really there, opened up a host of other problems that otherwise would've never existed, and then never made any meaningful adaptations once further changes down the road that would affect it were made. Gee whiz, can someone post the OITGDNHL graphic?

 

*amusing side note - the NHL did establish the ROW tiebreaker around 2010-'11, maybe the year before but definitely no later than that point, but not before the 2009 Canadiens, celebrating their centennial, made the playoffs over the Panthers despite the fact that, under post-ROW tiebreakers, the Panthers would've been the #8 seed over Montréal. Good thing the NHL waited on that one, huh?

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9 hours ago, speedy said:

 

It’s friggen going 7 because it always goes 7. Toronto has been far and away the better team all series, so theoretically they should win - and probably will. The difference for me has been Babcock/Cassidy. Babcock is putting on a coaching clinic and all Cassidy can do is tell them to dump, chase, lose the puck battle, repeat. Absolutely zero creativity. Marchand and Pastrnak are getting outworked and outplayed in every aspect. Lots of respect to Toronto for stifling the best line in hockey.

 

Let’s talk officiating again. It’s awful. The first 2 Boston powerplays were really bad calls, then they missed a blatant boarding against Pastrnak only to be bailed out by a Marner DOG.

 

I’m up in the air on that GI non-call. Rask was never going to make that save, but it could’ve gone either way. Bruins fans will blame that call for the loss of the game and possibly the series - completely ignoring the gift calls they got and couldn’t capitalize on. 

 

 

 

The defensive zone coverage by the Bruins forwards has also been absolutely atrocious this series. A lot of offense is being generated by the Maple Leafs points because they're wide open and can do whatever they please.

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3 hours ago, Kramerica Industries said:

 

If my two options would be to either have ties, which likely reflect an evenly-played game where neither team dominated the other, or have shootouts determine who gets all the points, which is nothing more than a skills competition affecting team results, then the shootout needs to be immediately abolished. 

 

North Americans and their bizarre hatred of "ties". Mind-boggling. 

 

I'm with you. Give me the good old fashioned tie over the shootout. 

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