Hi, again, Snakes fans! News flash from the SPHL office. The new playoff format will be as follows:
Eight of the 9 teams will make the playoffs. There are no more best-of-five series, which I personally hate to see. I know the players don't like the best-of-threes either and I finally (after 7 years..haha) understand why!
They've been fussing about them since I started covering the Snakes in the 2004-05. They kept talking about bad bounces and how they can, literally, determine the outcome of a short series. I've now seen enough of them to know that's true. Best of threes are just not ideal. But, in a league like ours where financial considerations are important. you just can't have the playoffs drag out 'til summer like the NHL does. So...
#1 vs #8 #2 vs #7 #3 vs #6 #4 vs #5 best of three
teams are re-seeded based on regular-season points earned
#1 vs #4 #2 vs #3 best of three
President's Cup Finals
two remaining teams play in best of three
The other thing I hate to see is that their is no reward for finishing first in the regular season. I liked the fact that coming out on top after 56 games got you not only a banner to hang in your building. The best-of-five against the number 6 seed has produced some memorable matchups!
I know coming into today's conference call, there was sentiment for a four-team playoff, some for an eight-team playoff and maybe even some to leave it as a six-team field. I believe the thinking on the 8 teams is that, with possible expansion to 10 (or more) teams next season, the league could keep the eight-team setup in place and not keep changing it every year. Time will tell on that theory.
The other result of today's conference call is more stringent penalties for diving, which I think is a good thing. It had gotten ridiculous last season where players were trying for both a minor penalty and an Academy Award. Especially terrible in the closing minutes of a game where a power play could be really significant. Will let you know the details of the anti-diving plan when they become available.