As I have done at various points throughout the season, I thought I would take one last look at how the playoffs would look this year if the realignment plan proposed at the beginning of the year had gone through and was instituted this year. For those who don’t remember, here is how it was outlined.
So, now with the season at it’s end, how would the playoffs look with the 4 conference playoff format?
Conference 1: 1 Vancouver vs 4 Los Angeles and 2 Phoenix vs 3 San Jose. No major surprises here. In fact, no matter how it works out, Vancouver and Los Angeles play each other.
Conference 2: 1 St. Louis vs 4 Chicago and 2 Nashville vs 3 Detroit. Again, all teams that made the playoffs, but an extremely competitive pair of series. Nashville and Detroit still play each other, regardless of scenario.
Conference 3: 1 Boston vs 4 Buffalo and 2 Florida vs 3 Ottawa – The weakest conference of them all, Buffalo is the only team that did not make the real life NHL post season, but would have if realignment took place this season. Their late season surge would not have been for naught.
Conference 4: 1 New York Rangers vs 4 New Jersey and 2 Pittsburgh vs 3 Philadelphia. Conference 4 would force Washington to be left out, but would produce 2 excellent local rivalries. Hard to beat that, right?
Well, with 4 overtimes (including 2 in the St. Louis-San Jose game Thursday) in 2 days of action, I don’t think we’re missing much drama with the present format.