The NHL Playoffs are already proving to be one to be remembered

4/30/14 in NHL   |   patrickhoffman3530   |   122 respect

Apr 28, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings cheerleaders pose during the game against the San Jose Sharks during the third period in game six of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center. The Los Angeles Kings won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY SportsWhen the NHL went ahead and changed up the divisions and playoff format, both hockey pundits and fans alike were skeptical.

While these folks understood that this needed to be done, they were not quite sure how it would end up working out and what kind of match-ups it would produce in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

It is safe to say that with three Game 7's on tap for tonight, the NHL's realignment has been a success. For starters, it has helped to produce intriguing match-ups.

In looking at the first round, several of the series were between rivals whether it was divisional, past history, Original Six, etc. We had/have the likes of the San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings, and Chicago Blackhawks vs. St. Louis Blues.

All of the above mentioned series, with the exception of the Bruins vs. Red Wings, were/are all great first-round match-ups. With the exception of the Bruins vs. Red Wings series, each series went at least six games and tonight, two of those series will be going at it in a Game 7 to advance to the second round. 

Even the second round is going to have intriguing match-ups. The perfect example of this is the one that is going to be between the Bruins and Montreal Canadiens, who will be facing off against each other in the postseason for a league-record 34th time.

Secondly, with the way realignment worked, we have seen a lot more parity, which has resulted in a lot more comebacks. For example, the Kings battled back from 3-0 series deficit to force tonight's Game 7.

Apr 27, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (22) skates past Chicago Blackhawks left wing Bryan Bickell (29) during the third period in game six of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center. Chicago won 5-1 to take the series 4 games to 1. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
In the Blues vs. Blackhawks series. the Blues were up 2-0 in the series before the Blackhawks found their game and won four straight. In the Rangers vs. Flyers series, the teams have traded wins from the start of the series as neither team has been able to gain a true edge in the series.

Parity has also been the case in the Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild series. Much like the Rangers/Flyers series, no team has been able to gain an edge in the series and because of that, the two clubs are facing off tonight in a Game 7 tilt.

In all, only two of the league's
eight first round match-ups have been done in five or less games. It just goes to show you that when it comes to the NHL's postseason, seeding really does not matter all that much.

Lastly, the new realignment has produced one of the most exciting first rounds in recent memory. There has been a lot of overtime games, big hits, questionable calls that have had major impacts on games, and of course, many highlight goals and saves.

It's already been a postseason to remember for the league and their fans and it's only just beginning.
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5/5/14   |   patrickhoffman3530   |   122 respect

patrickhoffman3530 wrote:
Sorry about your Sharks this year. Another epic playoff collapse, eh?

You may be right, but when you've had the team you've had for several years now and have not once been to the SCF, that's a problem and a failure on the organization's part. Something needs to change.

5/2/14   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

patrickhoffman3530 wrote:
Sorry about your Sharks this year. Another epic playoff collapse, eh?

This is actually their 2nd epic playoff collapse.  Ever.

5/1/14   |   patrickhoffman3530   |   122 respect

Sorry about your Sharks this year. Another epic playoff collapse, eh?

4/30/14   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

Sorry but the logic here is tragically flawed.  The mere fact that there just happened to be 3 game 7's in the first round had absolutely nothing to do with the playoff format.  The matchups may have some interest this season but I promise you year after year of the same teams facing each other in rounds 1 and 2 will get real old real fast.  Plus, the mere fact that two original 6 teams meet in a playoff does not make that series intriguing. Realignment has NOTHING to do with teams coming back.  How do you figure this?  All the realignment did was alter the process.  It has nothing to do with performance of the teams on the ice. 

One element that has been removed from the post season that has always made the jump from round 1 to round 2 fun is the reseeding.  Even if I didn't have an interest in a particular series it was interesting to see how things played out.  Now we don't even have that.  Makes the playoffs far less entertaining.
From my point of view, going into the post season there were only three teams that held any kind of fascination for me.  The Sharks because, yes, I'm a Sharks enthusiast.  And the Bolts and Jackets because they haven't been good for a while and are in "non traditional" hockey markets.  Other than that it's the same teams we've seen in the post season year after year after year.   Yawn.