Detroit Red Wings Clinch 2014 Playoff Berth
Some Red Wings “fans” have raked me over the coals for strongly predicting that the Wings would make the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs. I have no idea why some people, who claim to cheer for a team, are so quick to proclaim their downfall. Perhaps they have been conditioned to be let down, because they are also Lions fans? I have nothing. Oh well, I, along with the other 99% of Detroit Red Wing fans, am happy to see the Wings extend their record streak to 23 straight playoff appearances!
On Wednesday night, after defeating the Buffalo Sabres the evening before, the Red Wings played a tough game in Pittsburgh. If the season ended today, the Wings would face the Bruins, but could easily find themselves playing the Pens in the first round of the playoffs. The Wings were quite solid on defense, only allowing 10 Pittsburgh shots through the first two periods. Unfortunately, Gustavsson wasn’t at his best, allowing two goals on those 10 shots. Thankfully, Riley Sheahan slapped home the game-tying goal with just over a minute left in the third, thus pushing the Wings into the playoffs. Despite the shootout loss, the Wings clearly demonstrated that they are fully capable of beating the Pens.
The NHL’s New Playoff Seeding Rules
I think somebody was partaking in some heavy alcohol consumption, when they wrote these new playoff rules. While I’m happy to see the Wings in the East, I am puzzled by the seeding rules. What was wrong with the old way, simply taking the top 8 teams from each conference, determined by points? Remember the annual complaint in the old system, where people were upset that Carolina was a 3 seed and a team with more points was seeded 7th? The three division winners were given the top 3 seeds, then the rest of the field was filled out by points, 1 played 8, 2 faced 7, and so on. Well, hold on to your hats, because the new and “improved” system is much more complicated and baffling.
The Western and Eastern conferences are broken into 2 divisions each. Simple so far. The top 3 teams in each division are automatically in the playoffs. The final two playoff spots are claimed by “wild cards”, consisting of the next two highest point earning teams, despite division. If two teams are tied for playoff seeding, the following tiebreakers are enacted…
- The fewer number of games played (When would this happen).
- The greater number of games won (ROW), Regulation + OT wins. (Shootout wins don’t count)
- The greater number of points earned in games between the tied clubs. If two clubs are tied, and have not played an equal number of home games against each other, points earned in the first game played in the city that had the extra game shall not be included. If more than two clubs are tied, the higher percentage of available points earned in games among those clubs, and not including any “odd” games, shall be used to determine the standing.
- Goal differential.
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Was that clear? Haha! Now we know who makes the playoffs, now to dive into how the seeding works. The division winner with the most points will face the lowest seeded wildcard team. The other division winner will host the other wildcard team. That leaves the 2nd and 3rd place teams in each division. The 2 and 3 teams in each division will face each other in the opening round. The second round would pit the two remaining teams from each division against each other.
Simplicity and common sense are dead. What is wrong with simply taking the top 8 teams in each conference, as evidenced by regular season points? This is a clear attempt by the NHL to hold the fans’ attention across the regions. If one division is weak, the simple method could restrict them to one or two teams. The ‘new and improved’ method ensures that 3 teams from each division get a berth, but the wildcard teams could emerge from the same division.
In any event, the Red Wings are in! All that is left to decide is whether they will face Boston or Pittsburgh. I can assure you that neither Boston or Pittsburgh want to face Detroit rather than Columbus.
Questions for you…
What do you think of the new playoff system?
What would the result be of a Detroit vs Boston round? Detroit vs Pitt?