Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Player Poll: Most think 16 is enough for playoffs
The Hockey News
"Should the NHL increase the number of teams that qualify for the playoffs from 16 to 20?"
That was the question posed to 30 NHL players as the league appears determined to increase the number of participating playoff teams in the near future, but don't expect players to take a victory lap if the announcement comes.
An overwhelming 24 (80 percent) of the players polled were not in favor of the increase, saying the number of teams should remain at 16. Six players (20 percent) said it should be expanded to 20.
Ottawa Senators defenseman Zdeno Chara believes 16 is enough. "There are just over half the teams in the playoffs now," he said. "You don't want to have three-quarters of the teams in the playoffs."
Anaheim's Todd Marchant, though, would welcome additional teams.
"It grows the popularity of the game," Marchant said. "Any team that has ever been in the playoffs, you look at the excitement it garners league-wide and in the city of the teams that are playing.
"Look at the Pittsburgh Steelers. They were an NFL wild-card team and ended up winning the Super Bowl. Who's to say the No. 9 or No. 10 [conference] seed doesn't go all the way to the Stanley Cup finals?"
Here are the results from each team. Some players asked to remain anonymous.
Anaheim Mighty Ducks Yes: "It grows the popularity of the game. Any team that has ever been in the playoffs, you look at the excitement it garners league-wide and in the city of the teams that are playing. Look at the Pittsburgh Steelers. They were a wild-card team, ended up winning the Super Bowl. Who's to say that one of those No. 9 or No. 10 [conference] seeds doesn't go all the way to the Stanley Cup finals? I think it would be great for our sport. Look at the playoff races now. Look at how tight they are. There are only three or four points separating (teams) out of the playoffs from fifth in the conference. I think it would increase the popularity of the game. I think there's no question. The parity in the game today is as high as it's ever been." -- Todd MarchantAtlanta Thrashers No: "Absolutely not." -- AnonymousBoston Bruins No: "Keep it at 16 teams." -- Brad StuartBuffalo Sabres No: "It's a long enough season already. You would have to put an extra round in the playoffs and probably have to make it best of five. That's not hockey. Playoffs should best of seven, always. More teams would make money by getting in the playoffs, but you would have to make the season shorter." -- J.P. DumontCalgary Flames No: "The playoffs are long enough as it is. The playoffs should be hard to make, not easy, and be a crapshoot once you get there. It should be a huge accomplishment to make the playoffs, so don't taint it." -- Andrew FerenceCarolina Hurricanes No. -- Chad LaRoseChicago Blackhawks No: "What we have now is working well. The season is long enough." -- Mark BellColorado Avalanche No: "I don't think so. I think it's good the way it is." -- AnonymousColumbus Blue Jackets No: "It's plenty already." -- Radoslav SuchyDallas Stars No: "I just think that's too much time to be waiting around for the playoffs to start if you're one of the top six teams in your conference. I don't know, it would just be strange to be watching other teams play." -- Trevor DaleyDetroit Red Wings No: "Twenty teams, that's a long playoffs; 16 is good, makes you play hard from the beginning of the season to make it in. Five rounds in the playoffs, even if it's two out of three [in the preliminary round] is too long." -- Manny LegaceEdmonton Oilers Yes: "If they shortened the season, it might be an option.'' -- Steve StaiosFlorida Panthers No: "It might be a little too early to start doing that. If it's 20 teams, it might be too easy for some teams to make it. There should be that competition. And this time of the year, it makes it fun for fans to follow their team and watch them make a playoff push. It's good how it is. More teams would get in the playoffs, but the electricity might not be there. You want to see teams make a push and make moves or not make moves. It's good how it is now." -- Mike Van RynLos Angeles Kings No -- Joe CorvoMinnesota Wild Yes: "With the salary cap, parity isn't what it used to be. It will still be a battle to make the playoffs." -- Wes WalzMontreal Canadiens No: "Teams 15 and 16 obviously are the least skilled, and it gets worse from there. Those teams won't upset nobody." -- Chris HigginsNashville Predators No: "I think the season goes long enough. Everybody wants to be in the playoffs, but we're already playing into June. I don't think anyone wants to stretch it to the end of June." -- Dan HamhuisNew Jersey Devils No: "I don't think they should change from 16 to 20. Why change, just so more teams can get in? It's been 16 for so long. My suggestion would be to make the first round a best of five." -- Sergei BrylinNew York Islanders No: "It should stay the same, there's no reason to make the regular season mean less." -- Miroslav SatanNew York Rangers No: "I think it's good the way it is, it gives teams something to fight for." -- Jaromir JagrOttawa Senators No: "There are just over half [of all] teams in the playoffs now. You don't want to have three-quarters of the teams in the playoffs." -- Zdeno CharaPhiladelphia Flyers Yes: "20 would be good. It could be like football, with some wild cards. The first round could be best of five. Give more people a chance to get in. I think the cities would be excited." -- Brian SavagePhoenix Coyotes Yes: "I can see the arguments for both sides. You want the regular season to mean something, but the teams that are going to miss out by a shootout loss here or there feel like their cheated. I say yeah, let's go to 20 teams. If you finish 11th in your conference, you have no beef no matter what your record is." -- Mike JohnsonPittsburgh Penguins Yes: "It would make our chances better." -- Marc-Andre FleurySt. Louis Blues No: "Like those play-in rounds they have in the AHL? "You're either in the playoffs or you're not." -- Mark RycroftSan Jose Sharks No -- Niko DimitrakosTampa Bay Lightning No -- Rob DiMaioToronto Maple Leafs No: "I'm an old-school guy. I think they should keep it at 16." -- Bryan McCabeVancouver Canucks No: "I think it's good to have it the way it is and make teams work to get into the playoffs." -- Josh GreenWashington Capitals No -- AnonymousMaterial from The Hockey News.
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