Thursday, September 11, 2014

Explaining the New Playoff Format

The WHL has adopted a new Playoff format this year and I haven't really payed attention to it until now.  I personally hate it because of a flaw in a potential unbalanced conference alignment in which we saw last season.

Ultimately you need to beat the best to be the best. Playing a 72 game season then getting thrown into a wolf, or mouse playoff seems unfair.

This years Format is determined by the top 3 in each division + 2 wildcards.
The 2nd and 3rd place team in each division play against in each in the first round. So throw away your thinking about 1 vs 8, 2 vs 7, 3 vs 6, 4 vs 5...

This is how last year would have ended up.

East Division
1 Regina   85 pts --DIVISION WINNER.#2   Plays higher wildcard
2. Swift Current 85 pts  2ND IN DIVISION Plays BELOW
3. Brandon  77 pts        3RD IN DIVISION PLAYS ABOVE
4. Prince Albert 75 pts  WILDCARD #2  (Lesser)
5.  Moose Jaw  51 pts
6. Saskatoon  37 pts

Central Division
1. Edmonton 103 pts  DIVISION WINNER#1    plays lesser wildcard
2. Calgary 103 pts    2ND IN DIVISION PLAYS BELOW
3. Medicine Hat 92 pts  3RD IN DIVISION PLAYS ABOVE
4. Kootenay 83 pts   WILDCARD #1 (higher)
5. Red Deer  75 pts
6. Lethbridge 29 pts

PA defeated the Rebels in a tiebreaker in regular season.

First Round (Seeds are by regular season total points)
Bracket Two
#4 Regina(DIVISION WINNER) Vs #6 Kootenay (Higher wildcard)
#5 Swift Vs  #7Brandon

Bracket One
#1  Edmonton (Division Winner) vs  #8Prince Albert   (Lesser Wildcard)
#2 Calgary Vs #3Medicine Hat  

Second Round - The Winners of each bracket play each other.
Third Round - Bracket One vs Bracket two

The top 3 seeds are all in one bracket, and they will play each other in the first two rounds These should be 3rd and 4th round matchups not 1st and 2nd round matchups.  Meanwhile the #6 seed Kootenay is suddenly enjoying life.

A month before the season ended when Kootenay and the Tigers were neck and neck, really it would be better to loose a few games and drop back, as Kootenay had a much better position in the playoffs than the Tigers.

To me this scenario is complete garbage and I really hope we don't see it.  The weaker teams get rewarded with more potential playoff games and the good teams get penalized.

Equal Balanced Conferences
 How this goes remains to be seen, whether the #1 seeds will take advantage of more weary second round opponents, or whether it will be harder as their opposition will be rivals and more battle tested, it will probably even out.

I think there is a higher chances for upsets playing close rivals, and the path in playoffs is a notch more difficult.

I think we will see on average more playoff games played per year, less overall travel, and more money generated. The road to the finals will get harder. I really hope we don't see conference imbalances because that could put a damper on a strong season.  It does make divisional games that much more important. If you have a great season you are hoping for teams in your division to be weaker.


longtimefan said...

Think I'm going to have to agree. This format has a chance of being a huge cluster you know what.

TigerTurf said...

If I'm brandon or saskatoon I love this. They have a load em up, and sell them off type strategy where the east division has been weaker in general. Their strategy become the go to strategy, and when they have good teams their path gets easier.

For the Tigers who try to have a good team every year, it is a death sentence....moreso because calgary and edmonton are big market teams in their division....They are going to have a much tougher time getting out of round 1 now, and if they do they have to face a team just as tough in round 2.

I don't know how EDM, Cal, or anyone in the central agreed to this...they just lost playoff games and extra money.

Anonymous said...

I really do not get the point of this change? I do not get the point of going to a system that is not aligned with the NHL system. I also think that you may see teams bomb at the end to get the "better" playoff spot. I wonder if this leads to "fixing" of games by playing younger players and sitting your vets just to lose a game to get a better match up.
Abolutely dumb to me. I hate it. Is this a for-sure thing or could we still see normal hockey playoffs?

Anonymous said...

Not on this topic but on a tiger topic - Valk was the best player on the ice in the Oiler/Canucks prospects game. 2 goals, both of them to tie up the game. I want nothing more then to see him sign a NHL contract and play in the NHL. He deserves it! Was very happy to see him outplay Shinkaruk - Valk was always a better player, had he been 2 inches taller he would have been a first round pick.

TigerTurf said...

I would love to see valk get signed. He deserves it