The Ottawa Senators advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals and amazing as it is, it does showcase the flawed structure of the NHL’s Playoff format.
Currently, they want division rivalries and, yes, that leads to some rivalry matchups right off the bat.
The problem is it can lead to a competitive balance that makes the regular season results somewhat meaningless.
This year in the east, the Senators were on the side of the bracket with the fourth, fifth and seventh best teams.
The other side of the bracket has the first, second, third and eighth-seeded Toronto Maple Leafs.
The NHL’s goal shouldn’t be highlighting rivalries early in the playoffs. It should be trying their hardest so the best teams make the conference finals.
We watched one heck of series between Pittsburgh and Washington conclude last night in what could have been the Eastern Conference Final if the NHL realized the third round matchups are more important than the first.