In our earlier blog “The 2012-13 NHL Schedule: Coming Up Short“, we gave three possible Readjustment Points for how to formulate a schedule for a CBA Negotiations-shortened schedule.
I have one more option.
The number is 35.933. That is how many games on average teams have played by the end of December 2012 under the current regular season schedule. To be exact:
1. 10 teams (five in each conference) have played 36 games by the end of December.
2. 10 teams (again, five in each conference) have played more than 36 games by the end of December – CAR has 39; WSH, NSH and VAN have 38; and MTL, NYI, PIT, DAL, LAK and MIN have 37.
3. And 10 teams (once more, five in each conference) have played less than 36 games by the end of December – TOR and WPG have 33; NYR, TBL and PHX have 34; and NJD, CGY, COL, DET and SJS have 35.
If, as everyone is intimating, there will A) be a stoppage of some kind, and B) the NHL will do everything possible not to lose the exposure and revenue of the Winter Classic on 1 January, then 46 games played by all teams between New Years’ Day and the current end of the regular season in April is the goal.
To make that happen, the fourth Readjustment Point would be:
1. Ensure 23 each home and away games are on everyone’s schedule.
2. Fix the game disparities listed above.
3. With Nos. 1 and 2 above set, play out the rest of the schedule as is currently coordinated so as to minimize schedule redrafting and clearance with arena calendars woes.
4. AND THEN PUT THE TOP EIGHT FINISHERS FROM EACH CONFERENCE – NO MATTER WHICH DIVISION THEY COME FROM – INTO THE PLAYOFFS BEGINNING IN THE MIDDLE OF APRIL. Seed accordingly based on standings finish. Three rounds within Conference, and one round cross-Conference for all of the marbles.
Kinda has a bit of an old time hockey ring to it, doesn’t it? You could also ensure each division has at least one representative if you would like. But this Readjustment Point gives no regard to divisional emphasis based on playing out what is left of the schedule, so why should divisional considerations even be a subject of concern? This season, if it is shortened, why not reward those teams who gel the fastest and play the best?
We say another consideration is The Top Eights if there is a shortened season this year.