Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin likes a lot of things: cars, scoring goals, that one blue suit, the right parenthesis button, celebrating goals, and sweatpants. One thing he definitely does not like is the NHL’s current playoff seeding format. In an interview with CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Tarik El-Bashir, the Russian machine called it “weird.”
“You win President’s Trophy, but you see schedule in the playoffs is kind of weird,” Ovechkin said to El-Bashir about last year’s playoff exit. “Because you play first team in fourth, then you play against Pittsburgh, not like Islanders or different teams play against each other and you think why do you need to win the President’s Trophy to play against best team? It’s kind of weird, but nothing you can do, it’s over, it’s past, now we looking forward.”
The format that Ovechkin is referring to was adopted after the 2013-2014 division realignment that took the Caps from the vaunted Southeast Division into their new home, the Metropolitan Division. Under the “new” system, the top three teams in each division make the playoffs, with two wild cards in each conference. In the first round, the top-ranked team in the conference plays against the lowest-ranked wild-card, while the other division winner plays against the higher ranked wild-card. The second and third place teams in each division then play each other. The first round winners then meet in the second round. Then you have the Conference Finals and ultimately the Stanley Cup.
There’s no re-seeding done. Instead of getting the worst remaining team, you must come out of your own division’s bracket first, which is what Ovechkin is commenting on. If you ask me, he’s spot on, it’s stupid, but in Alex’s own words, “what are you gonna do?”
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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