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Controversy Surrounding Playoff format, Suggesting 1 vs 8 Seeding


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Sara Amaya
May 2, 2024  (9:24)
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Stanley Cup
Photo credit: Britanica

For those who don't know, the 1 vs 8 format means that the three winners in each division for each conference are seeded first through third in the playoffs, in order of regular season point totals. Then, the following five best teams according to points are positioned fourth through eighth. In each conference, the team positioned #1 plays #8; #2 plays #7; #3 plays #6 and #4 plays #5, similar to the NBA structure.

Currently, the NHL uses a set bracket format that is largely division-based (top three teams gain automatic berths in each division) with a pair of wild card teams making it from each conference (based on points). This means, it's possible for one division to send as many as five teams to the postseason while another could send just three.
While some may argue that the 1 vs 8 format is the best way to obtain a true Stanley Cup winner, others may argue that it is ridiculous to make teams ranked higher play teams that ranked lower to advance in the Stanley Cup playoffs. While the lower ranking teams may find the challenge to beat the better opponent welcoming, the higher-ranking teams may find playing the lower opponent too easy and not take the game as seriously as they should.
At first glance, it is understandable why some may think this is a good way to even the playing field but is it really fair to have some of the best teams in the league play against teams that are not on their playing level? It would definitely change the dynamic of how teams are showing up and their motivation to play against their opponents.
Although the NHL is not currently using this format, fans have expressed a seeming thirst for this format to be adopted by the NHL moving forward. Other fans think a fresh outlook would better suit the league with new ideas on how to make the best sport more intriguing - which in turn could allow a spark in the players to train harder and fight to be the best in order to win the Stanley Cup.
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Controversy Surrounding Playoff format, Suggesting 1 vs 8 Seeding

Would you like to see the NHL return to the 1 vs 8 format in the playoffs?

Yes20491.9 %
No188.1 %
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