Gary Bettman right about NHL playoff expansion, Olympics

Here’s one you haven’t learn on this house all that usually during the last 20 years, however Slap Shots has an ally in Gary Bettman with the commissioner’s opposition to increasing the playoffs by together with a few play-in collection per convention that may contain groups in seventh place by tenth place. All within the title of retaining extra golf equipment in it.

That’s simply what all of us want, isn’t it, groups representing the underside third of the league within the postseason and groups maybe among the many NHL’s five-worst artificially vying for spots down the stretch? All within the title of giving everybody an opportunity to win on the expense of high quality management.

Why anybody would give credence to common managers supporting the proposal when doing so is nakedly self-interested balderdash is past me (“Hey, we finished over .500!” anecdotally mentioned the GM of a workforce that gained 36 out of 82 video games, as a pair of golf equipment did in 2018-19). I’m sorry however no, no championship-caliber workforce has ever completed in tenth place in its convention.

The NHL is sufficient of a lowest-common denominator league as it’s. Everything is skewed to degree the enjoying subject for lesser groups. The cap punishes and suppresses success (besides when long-term injured reserve is out there for a no-state-tax workforce). The loser level speaks for itself. The disappearing-ink rulebook whipped out for the playoffs advantages less-talented groups.

Now, we should always give an opportunity to win the Stanley Cup to a different 4 groups that couldn’t even make it into the highest half of the league, in a sport through which we all know that distinctive goaltending will be determinative in a brief collection?

If that’s the thought, why not simply begin with a convoluted 32-team subject and play it out? Why ought to Buffalo really feel not noted yearly?

NHL
Gary Bettman
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Here, too, I discover myself in settlement with the commissioner that sending NHL athletes — a good variety of whom have chosen towards getting vaccinated — to the 2022 Games in Beijing may not symbolize the wisest resolution.

This just isn’t a matter about the collective bargaining settlement or whether or not a common larger good is served by having the NHL on the Olympics. It is, no matter whether or not Sixth Avenue acknowledges that.

Instead, this time, it’s about working throughout the good sense of participant security and defending the athletes from what remains to be an evolving well being disaster in lots of elements of the world.

This time it is usually about contemplating whether or not a condensed schedule to permit for the required Olympic break is in one of the best curiosity of gamers who’re going to be coping with their first 82-game season since 2018-19 following the shortest scheduled offseason ever.


By the best way, ignoring the rule guide within the playoffs to help much less proficient groups is nothing new. That’s the best way the Panthers, then of their third season, have been capable of impede their strategy to the 1996 Stanley Cup Final by eliminating the Legion of Doom Flyers and the Mario Lemieux-Jaromir Jagr Penguins on their strategy to being swept by Colorado.

That labored out nicely for the league, with the ’96 collection both the worst or next-to-worst closing of the final 60 years, vying for that doubtful distinction with the 1998 sweep of the Capitals by the Red Wings.

Who would have needed to see Patrick Roy, Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg versus Eric Lindros or Lemieux and Jagr, anyway?

(Psst. Unless one thing dramatic ensues in Monday’s Game 4 in Montreal, this ongoing collection might be the least attention-grabbing closing since ever.)


Marc-Andre Fleury had already gained a pair of Cups in Pittsburgh — one as backup — however the first dozen years of the netminder’s profession didn’t fairly represent a Hockey Hall of Fame résumé. The first-overall draft collection of 2003 by no means completed larger than seventh within the Vezina voting nor larger than sixth in all-star balloting.

But these final 5 seasons, his closing one with the Penguins and his 4 with Vegas, have elevated Fleury — who gained his first Vezina this 12 months at age 36 — into that elite territory. It is uncommon certainly for this sort of late-career correction course.

The solely precedent, if it exists, could be Gump Worsley, who had compiled an estimable profession with the Rangers — first successful the Calder after which inserting third within the Hart Trophy balloting in 1955-56 whereas truly gaining probably the most first-place votes — however was not on a HHOF observe.

Golden Knights
Marc-Andre Fleury
Getty Images

That modified when he was traded to Montreal within the blockbuster deal through which Jacques Plante, Phil Goyette and Donnie Marshall got here to New York following the 1962-63 season.

After first dropping the job to Charlie Hodge following a knee harm after which spending the vast majority of two seasons within the AHL with the Quebec Aces, Worsley then gained 4 Cups in 5 seasons, gained the primary of his two Vezinas at age 36 (when the trophy went to the goaltender whose workforce allowed the fewest objectives within the league) and sailed into the HHOF in 1980 regardless of a profession dropping file.


So how come, if the Islanders and Lightning may play Game 7 of the semifinals with perhaps one delicate, post-whistle scrum, can’t each playoff recreation be performed that manner?

They can, they may, they need to and they’d if, beginning with Game 1 of Round 1, officers referred to as unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on gamers mugging it up after the whistle.

And this. Of course there ought to be a cap for the playoffs, nevertheless it ought to be utilized to a recreation lineup relatively than a workforce’s whole roster that essentially expands for the postseason. There ought to be no cause for both the NHL or the Players’ Association to oppose this modification to the CBA.


Here’s this reality about the Vegas operation run by the George McPhee-Kelly McCrimmon entrance workplace workforce: The extra shiny new toys the Golden Knights have added, the extra disappointing they’ve develop into.

Finally, I learn one thing the opposite day about how Ryan Nugent-Hopkins reupping with the Oilers on an eight-year deal for a median annual worth of $5.125 million coincides with Edmonton’s Stanley Cup window remaining open, and I have to confess, the joke went manner over my head.

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