While some online NHL betting fans have been passing the time by focusing on this year’s March Madness betting tournament, since the NHL playoffs are on the verge of starting, it’s time for those who bet on NHL to buckle down and focus on this year’s postseason. The NHL standings are the tightest they’ve been all season and even though NHL athletes should be focused on making the playoffs, there are more than a few who have something else on their mind.
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Specifically, players have taken issue with the current playoff format, which was implemented prior to the 2013-14 season. Previously, the postseason bracket looked like this, No.1 seed would face No. 8, No. 2 would face No. 7, No. 3 would face No. 6, and No. 4 would face No. 5. This is the type of seeding that most professional sports leagues employ in order to keep the postseason as competitive as possible..
Online NHL Betting’s Playoff Dilemma
But the NHL decided to part ways with this archaic seeding before the aforementioned season and decided to implement a new playoff system that, as they hoped, would help brew intense rivalries within the division.
“You can’t manufacture a rivalry,” Daniel Winnik, the Washington Capitals’ forward, told reporters after a team practice. “There’s already rivalries [sic] between us and Pittsburgh, us and the Rangers. The way I see it now, I’m sure the fans are getting sick of seeing the same two teams play each other in the first round, second round.”
Winnik speaks the truth. The NHL already has a handful of storied rivalries, some would argue the most historic of all professional sports leagues. And even though the newer franchises don’t really have a fierce rival, this is the type of thing that you can’t force. Rivalries aren’t just started by teams facing each other in the playoffs, but rather they involve the subtle headlines and stories that build up to the contest.
In the current playoff format, 16 teams are able to qualify for the postseason. With the first 12 spots going to the top three teams in each division, there are 4 slots available for a Wild Card team, which go to the two best remaining team in each conference, and they can go to any division.
Generally this system works, the best team in each division faces the worst wild card seed. Apart from a few rare occasions, this tends to be teams from the same division. So while most of the time this won’t cause any problems, on the seldom occasion where one division is much better than the other, it tends to screw things up a bit.
Right now the leaders of the Metropolitan Division; the Capitals, Blue Jackets and Penguins, all have a better record than the rest of the NHL. That sounds nice and dandy, but under the current playoff format, two of these standout teams will face each other in the opening round. Ultimately, this means that one of the best three teams in the NHL will be eliminated from the playoffs in the first round, something no avid online NHL betting fan wants to see.