Bruce Boudreau supports the NHL adopting a play-in format, but not for the reason you think
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
11 months ago
His club will almost certainly finish just outside the playoff picture, but that’s not why Vancouver Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau says he supports the NHL adopting a play-in format for playoff seeding.
Currently, the NHL’s playoff format sees the top three teams from each of the four divisions make the playoffs, along with the two best teams from each conference that sit outside their division’s playoff picture.
This means that eight teams from the Western Conference and eight teams from the Eastern Conference make the playoffs, and the rest are sent home packing.
In leagues such as the NBA, however, a play-in tournament format has been adopted.
The NBA’s play-in tournament includes teams with the 7th through 10th-highest winning percentages in each conference and takes place over the course of three days before the NBA Playoffs actually begin.
This isn’t all that dissimilar to the play-in round the NHL held during the 2020 playoff bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton, where all but five teams were given a postseason berth.
The only catch was that for teams like the Canucks — who wouldn’t have made the postseason based on points alone (unless the NHL went with points percentage at the time of COVID-19 pausing the league) — they had to go through a play-in round just to get to the first round of the playoffs, where a well-rested opponent would be awaiting them.
This is a format that Boudreau appears to be a supporter of moving forward, but not just because it might give his team a chance at the playoffs this season.
“I mean, I’d really like it this year if it was in, but if we were a solid third place, I don’t know if I’d like it as much,” joked Boudreau. “No, but honestly, I’ve thought of this for a while and I think it would be a great revenue generator. And the only other thing I really like about the idea is that at some point, the teams that are in first place over 82 games need more of an advantage rather than one home game, in my mind.
“I think if you had a play in, whether it’s a two out of three, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and then you start the playoffs Saturday — or even just one game — I think it gives the team that ended up in first place a little bit of an advantage an awful lot like March Madness when the play in teams have to play one of the top ranked teams.
“I think it would be a good idea. I think the first-place teams deserve a little bit of something for getting there other than just the President’s Trophy. So in my mind, it would be good.”
Whether the NHL follows the path of the NBA and MLB — and takes Boudreau’s advice — and expands their playoff format remains to be seen, but we’d like to know, do you agree with the Canucks head coach? Let us know in the comments section below!
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