COVID-19, better known as Coronavirus, has shut down our sports and we have no idea when they will be back. This is unfortunate to the NHL since it was at the tail ends of the regular season. Which begs the questions; What will they do for the playoffs? Will there be a champion? Only time will tell but in the meantime, but I have a lot of time on my hands now and here are my suggestions on a condensed playoff format that would end the playoffs in seven weeks.
First off, we abandon the Playoff format that’s currently in place. Assuming the NHL decides to resume action May 1st, my suggestion is to include every team in this new playoff format. In order to have everyone at en equal playing field, each team would need to reach 71 games played overall (currently eight teams have played 71 games) The rest would play their final games, prioritizing playing teams within their respective division. As soon as all teams have played their 71st game, teams will be ranked from 1-16 within the Eastern Conference and 1-15 in the Western Conference. After each round we will re-seed the teams to make it simpler. I have also adjusted the home/away games to limit traveling. Assuming the league kicks off on May 1st, this playoff format will begin on May 7th.
Round 1 May 7-9
1st round will be a one game elimination between the bottom eight teams. (Eastern Conference: 9 vs 16, 10 vs 15, 11 vs 14 and 12 vs 13) (Western Conference: 8 vs 15, 9 vs 14, 10 vs 13 11 vs 12). We will then have the teams remaining re-ranked after every round.
Round 2 May 10-15
The second round will have the bottom eight teams remaining play a best of three series. Bottom seed hosts first game and top seed will host the next two games in order to limit traveling. In the Western conference, the top five teams remaining will get a bye into the third round. In the East the top four teams will move onto the third round.
Round 3 May 17-25
Third round will include all remaining teams to play in a best of three game series. Standard Playoff rankings 1-8. As in the second round, the bottom seed will host the first game and the top seed will host the remaining two.
Round 4 May 27-June 3rd
Fourth round will be a best of five game series. The bottom seed will host the first two games only to finish the remaining three games hosted by the higher seed.
Conference Final June 5-12
Best of five game series where The bottom seed will host the first two games and finish the remaining three games hosted by the higher seed.
Stanley Cup Finals June 15-25
Best of seven game series between the winners of each conference. Again, in order to eliminate traveling, I suggest that the higher seed host the first two games, the next three games will be hosted by the lower seed and return to the higher seed for the last two games. This is a format used by the NBA years back. I like it in this condensed playoff format.
I hope you enjoy my suggestion, give it a share and a like and hit me back with any suggestions you have @TerryTam on twitter. Here are the visuals of what it would look like if the standings remained as is and we implemented this format. I’m also very aware that the NHL would never anything similar to this but it’s fun to see what options they have.