Keep Dreaming, P.K.
Of all the crazy ideas thought up when it comes to discussing how hockey should look like if it returns this year, one boneheaded suggestion stands out on its own.
If you missed it, New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban spoke with ESPN’s First Take last month, where he revealed his desire for the NHL to introduce a 31-team format for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Yes, that does include every single team.
So, in a world where that becomes reality, the Detroit Red Wings, who put together one of the most historically bad seasons of all time, would get a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup along with the Golden Knights who have earned their right to be in the playoffs.
But, given that it is something he mentioned before, Subban didn’t appear to be trolling hockey fans and it seems that this is an idea he generally thinks would work.
What was more baffling was the fact that Subban suggested his Devils team were making a push down the stretch.
Okay, so they went 6-2-2 over their previous 10 games prior to the break but, sitting 26th in the NHL with 68 points and 13 behind the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the Devils were hardly a Wild Card contender.
You do have to admire P.K. for shooting his shot but, again, the NHL has to protect the integrity of the Stanley Cup and this isn’t the way to do it.
It is an absolute grind and an attrition of war to slog your way to the Stanley Cup Final and then to win the greatest prize in all of sports, so having teams like the Red Wings and the Ottawa Senators in the postseason would make a mockery of all those teams who have worked so hard in order to lift Lord Stanley in years past.
Plus, and as already mentioned, it is hardly fair on teams like the Golden Knights who have battled all season long to emerge as one of the top teams in the NHL.
I’m sorry P.K. Subban but this idea just doesn’t work for me.
Overall, the NHL face a near-impossible task to keep everyone happy should hockey return at some point this year.
If they are able to finish the regular season and then jump into the normal 16-team playoffs, those teams on the bubble won’t be happy.
Then, if you expand the field to 24-teams and play with the idea of shortening the opening rounds, you not only risk upsetting the top seeds by forcing them to have a bigger break, but you also damage the integrity of the Stanley Cup which is a huge no.
The Vegas Golden Knights will be in regardless and will have home-ice advantage, but not all the suggested playoff formats will work for them.
Of course, at this stage we all just want hockey back in our lives but the NHL needs to ensure that the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs remain true to the rich history of this beloved game of ours.