Seeding in the NHL playoffs does not matter one bit.
All that matters is getting into the top eight in either conference because, once there, it becomes an entirely new season.
The Los Angeles Kings are a prime example of this.
Earlier this week, the Kings won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Los Angeles posted one of the greatest runs in playoff history, winning 16 of 20 games, including a 6-1 blowout in the deciding game of the Stanley Cup Final.
While many fans might assume that the Kings were as dominant in the regular season, the truth is that their dominance emerged from a team that barely made the playoffs as the No. 8 seed in the West.
This is nothing new for the NHL. Since 2002, the eighth seed in either conference has advanced out of the first round five times, with two going to the Stanley Cup Final, and the Kings actually hoisting the cup this season.
Seeding may mean even less with the new four-conference playoff format coming into effect next season. The new format will have the top four teams from each conference making the playoffs, where they will play each other for two rounds and move on to teams from other conferences from there.
As a result, the allure of trying to avoid certain first-round matchups will be gone.
This is what makes the NHL playoffs so fun to watch. Every team that makes it has a real chance of not just winning one series, but winning it all.
Proof that an eighth seed can go all the way, paired with an improved playoff format, should make for an intriguing 2012-13 season.
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