NHL Playoff Seedings
Life isn't fair and neither is the current way that they NHL seeds its playoff participants. If your team wins it division, it earns either a 1, 2 or 3 seed. This, even if it has earned a dozen or more less points than a 2nd, 3rd or even 4th place team in another division. Obviously, a divisional championship is a worthy achievement. It becomes tarnished a bit if the rest of the teams in their division are the bottom feeders of the league. A comparison could be made with the recently completed NCAA college basketball March Madness tournament. Just because Robert Morris University won the Northeast Conference, they would earn a top 2 seed over the University of North Carolina, who happened to finish 3rd in the competitive Atlantic Coast Conference. This would rankle the feathers of every university Athletic Director in the country. The Penguins Atlantic Division, with the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils all qualified for the playoffs with 8 to 12 points over the Southeast Division winner Florida Panthers.. The Panthers, instead of earning the #3 seed, should earn the 6th to 8th seed and be satisfied with it. The only way to absolutely resolve this seeding inequity is either quickly do away with the division setup and just list all 15 teams in the conference and the top 8 teams would then make the playoffs. The sad part in that scenario is that some point in time, a divisional winner would earn less points than the 8th seed and bump them out of the playoffs.
Some say that having home ice advantage is not crucial to winning a playoff series. Should the home team fall behind in the score, their own fans sometimes turn against them. This adds to the pressure that the team is already feeling. Truth be told, for all of the playoff success that the Penguins have attained recently, in the past 22 years, they have only clinched one game #7 playoff victory at home. Conversely, they are undefeated when playing a road playoff game #7. They feast on ruining opposing fans joy when placed in that pressure packed predicament. Having said that, there is something in the home cooking that a home based series brings. Less travel, more money in their franchise's coffers from ticket and apparel sales, concessions, hotel, restaurants, etc., all are positive byproducts of ensuring an extra home game should it be necessary to win the series. Now if we could only convince the executives at the NHL headquarters to see things our way.