Stanley Cup Playoffs: Should the NHL Expand its Playoff Format?

Sportsnet: Luke Gadzic and Jamal Mayers when asked if the NHL should be looking to expand the Stanley Cup playoffs or will it dilute it.

** transcription

David Amber: “Alright, lots of discussion. We’ve seen expansion in the playoffs in the NBA. We’ve seen it in Major League Baseball. What about in hockey, guys?

Here’s one proposal where you essentially go from 16 playoff teams to 20 playoff teams, 10 in each conference. Do you like it, Luke?”

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Proposed expanded NHL playoff format.
Proposed expanded NHL playoff format.

Gadzic: “Look, I personally don’t and here’s my thing, it’s already a long enough regular season as it is. We play 82 games here. The players play 82 games here, and I just think that’s enough chance for guys to get in. I don’t think we need this extra play in to give teams another chance or another go at it.

How it would look this year with expanded playoffs.
How it would look this year with expanded playoffs.

They, this is they’re playing right now to me is these last 10 games. All these teams on the board are in the wild card spots you just saw. They’ve had enough chance to make it in and I just think it’s, it’s enough hockey already. And I’m not a huge, huge fan of possibility.”

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How it would look this year with expanded playoffs for the Eastern Conference
How it would look this year with expanded playoffs for the Eastern Conference

Mayers: “For me, it dilutes what the intention is. To me, 20 teams out of 32 to me is too many. So maybe if it was 18, you might convince me that it’s a good idea.

The problem is, I get it, you’re gonna raise more funds, more money, more revenue, more interest, more fan bases are going to stay involved for longer. But to me it perhaps dilutes the value and the importance of games in November and December and what it means as a fan base to be prepared to win those types of hockey games. If everybody, almost everybody gets in, it kind of dilutes it for me.”

Amber: “All right, there are no wrong answers but those are two horrible answers. I’m a fan of the game I want more playoffs. I mean 20 teams, here’s the thing though, it could be a short little, we’ve seen in NBA, we’ve seen in baseball. How exciting is a one game winner take all and you get to have that chance?

Think about the Buffalo Sabres fan base right now. They’d love the idea of this expanded playoffs to give them the shot after 12 miserable years of making the postseason.”

Mayers: “They only had 82 games to figure out.”

Gadzic: “Yeah. Like is it better for Buffalo to not make it or to absolutely scrape in, win your two games and then have a tired Buffalo team have to go up and play the rangers and get absolutely, like just destroyed by them. Is that better for their franchise, or is it? I don’t.”

Amber: “I don’t know. The fan in me says it’d be awesome but I, you guys are making some really important relevant points to why you don’t want expansion. You want to keep it old school, 16.”

Mayers: “16. I can see an argument for 18 but I think 20 is too, too many.”

Gadzic: “And I think if we were looking at the schedule or the season right now and there were a number of teams that are going to miss out this year where we’re saying ‘man I feel bad for this team or Washington, they really deserved it.’ I just don’t think there’s enough of those.”