Throw out everything you think you know about the Stanley Cup Playoffs!
It looks like Gary Bettman could be announcing that if/when the NHL resumes, it will be doing so in the form of a 24-team field.
Count me among the people who are psyched about it.
Is this a perfect solution? Hell no. But the NHL is going to lose buckets and buckets of money if they don’t play. The league stands to lose a ton of money if it goes straight into a regular 16-team playoff.
If/when the season does resume, it will be doing so without fans in the stands. That’s a big time loss for the franchises and for the league as a whole.
Bettman, the owners, GM’s, and players may say that adding eight teams to the Stanley Cup Playoffs is about not shortchanging the teams that were barely on the outside of the field with about 12 games to play. That’s part of the reasoning for the 24-team tournament, sure. But, sans fans, this is about creating a made for TV event.
The way I understand it, according to the contract between NBC and the NHL, the two entities split ad revenue. It’s a simple equation then for the NHL. More playoff games on TV equals more advertisement revenue.
Do the Montreal Candadiens, who were sellers at the trade deadline, deserve to be in the playoffs? No.
The Chicago Blackhawks? No.
But this isn’t about being equitable from a competitive balance standpoint. This is about cash money.
Major League Baseball’s owners have made it clear that it would make more sense to NOT play than to pay players prorated salaries.
The NHL, similarly, isn’t going to play games unless it makes sense from a financial standpoint.
The playoff format is silly. It rewards mediocrity. I don’t like that. What I do like, though, is hockey. I want to see the Stanley Cup handed out this summer. The only way that’s going to happen is if this imperfect playoff format is accepted.
So, sign me up.
I’m psyched for the possibility of hockey.