NHL: Too Long a Season

Jason LempertCorrespondent IMay 3, 2009

VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 30: Left wing Troy Brouwer #22 of the Chicago Blackhawks and left wing Alexandre Burrows #14 of the Vancouver Canucks exchange words during a stoppage in play during Game One of the Western Conference Semifinal Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 30, 2009 at General Motors Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Richard Lam/Getty Images)

The NHL playoffs are often referred to as the NHL's "second season." Why? Because they last almost as long as an entire regular season. 

Of course I'm exaggerating. But at a point in time where the majority of sports interest if focused on the NBA playoffs and the beginning of the MLB season, NHL is not gaining any popularity points by having such a long postseason.

So I got to thinking—what if the NHL followed MLB's playoff format?  I recently wrote an article depicting what the MLB playoff race would look like if it mimicked the NHL format, so here's a little reversal. If the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs followed the MLB format, here's how it would look:

 

Eastern Conference

  • No. 1 - Boston Bruins (116) vs. No. 4 - Pittsburgh Penguins (99)
  • No. 2 - Washington Capitals (108) vs. No. 3 - New Jersey Devils (106)

 

Western Conference

  • No. 1 - San Jose Sharks (117) vs. No. 4 - Chicago Blackhawks (104)
  • No. 2 - Detroit Red Wings (112) vs. No. 3 - Vancouver Canucks (100)

And while we're at it, why not make the first round a best-of-five series to cut the postseason down even more.  I mean, seven hockey games in one series is A LOT of hockey...a lot of hard hits and high sticks.