While those in the NHL’s New York head office would never tip their hand on this topic, one would have to believe the league is thrilled with the prospect of a larger Canadian presence in the Stanley Cup playoffs this spring. (By larger presence, I mean a presence of any kind.)
If the postseason started today, five teams from the Great White North would advance. The Vancouver Canucks are just on the outside looking in, with a lot of hockey to go. Last season there were no Canadian teams and TV numbers dipped as interest fell.
The buzz has the potential to be much larger this time around. Last season we saw Connor McDavid emerge as a superstar. Interest in McDavid will peak if the Oilers make the playoffs. Should rookie sensation Auston Matthews be part of the NHL’s postseason, the many Leaf fans across the country will be dialed in, big time.
I get the sense there is some cheering for Canadian teams in the Big Apple.