2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Is the Regular Season Meaningless?

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After the first round of the playoffs saw several top-seeded and highly regarded teams bounced, the initial question in the minds of the collective public went something like this, "Is the regular season meaningless?"

It's a reasonable conclusion, when you consider that the Presidents' Trophy-winning team, the Vancouver Canucks, were tidily bounced from the first round by the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings. That, after the Kings' inclusion in the postseason came down to the last few harrowing days.

In the East, the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins were given an early exit by the seventh-seeded Washington Capitals and the vaunted Pittsburgh Penguins were edged by the fifth-seeded Philadelphia Flyers.

As it stands today, the second-seeded St. Louis Blues are in deep trouble against the Kings in the second round, down 2-0 and heading to Tinseltown, while the top-seeded New York Rangers are up against it with the Caps.

So, is the regular season meaningless? Definitely not. Just because top seeds are performing poorly in the postseason doesn't mean the regular season is without merit.

The regular season serves three main purposes. First, it allows the best teams to separate themselves from the lesser ones, by sustaining top play throughout the year. Second, it gives fans 82 chances to see their team play. The league is all about the fans, who purchase tickets, buy merchandise and consume concessions. Without them, there is no league. Lastly, it's a business venture. More games means more money for owners so they can continue to put a product on the ice. A very critical element indeed when weighing the regular season.

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