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The NHL's 24 Team Playoff. What you need to know.

The time for hockey to return may officially be upon us! On Monday, the NHL held a Board of Governors meeting to discuss plans for returning to play. Later in the week the NHLPA approved the 24 team format and shed some light on what's to come for hockey to return. They mentioned there would be a three week training camp. Then a 5 game regular season. The NHL would then use a percentage of the points accumulated in the 5 game regular season to be and the regular season that happened to seed the playoffs, with the top two teams receiving a bye. Some say less is more but with the thought of no fans in the stands owners need more Playoff hockey. Playoff games equal more TV revenue and for a league that has lost so much money due to cancelling the final weeks of the regular season, this is its chance to recoup some lost dollars and keep as many fans as possible interested. It makes sense. As much as I love hockey and as relevant as it is in my hometown city of Boston that's not the case in most places. The NHL comparative to the other major sports brands needs all the help it can get. A new playoff format is the shot in the arm the sport needs. I see a lot of people that disagree with my take on this. In a recent pole on @bigmouthsmallwordspodcast instagram page 81% of people are against the new playoff format. I think the backlash from fans not wanting this new playoff structure is simply just the thought of not knowing what to come. Hockey fans are die hard and don't love change. Whether you like the move or not I believe it helps the sport in the short term 100%. The world has been waiting for sports amidst this pandemic we are all facing. Now with hockey on the precipice of a return and potentially more eyes on the product then ever before you're going to see a something new. This change adds more teams and adds more drama to an already stellar product. This 24 team format if done correctly could be a big deal for the NHL for years to come. When Seattle enters the league as the 32nd team in 2021-22, the odds of qualifying for the playoffs, under the existing format will drop to 50%. But if 24 out of the 32 teams make the playoffs, then the odds of qualifying will increase to 75%. More teams with a chance to make a cup run will create genuine interest and for this season, it would make the Stanley Cup something to truly remember. So before you shut down the idea tune in with an open mind. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with the outcome after all of this. Now as it stands now as far as upcoming matchups we have.

Eastern Conference

Pittsburgh Penguins (5) vs. Montreal Canadiens (12)

winner plays Philadelphia Flyers (4)

Carolina Hurricanes (6) vs. New York Rangers (11)

winner plays Washington Capitals (3)

New York Islanders (7) vs. Florida Panthers (10)

winner plays Tampa Bay Lightning (2)

Toronto Maple Leafs (8) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (9)

winner plays Boston Bruins (1)

Then in the Western Conference

Edmonton Oilers (5) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (12)

winner plays Dallas Stars (4)

Nashville Predators (6) vs. Arizona Coyotes (11)

winner plays Vegas Golden Knights (3)

Vancouver Canucks (7) vs. Minnesota Wild (10)

winner plays Colorado Avalanche (2)

Calgary Flames (8) vs. Winnipeg Jets (9)

winner plays St. Louis Blues (1).

As it was originally slated after the first round match ups the lowest seeded team would play the highest seeded team but I believe as it stands now because they are going by division these are the matchups you would get. Keep in mind the new 5 game regular season could change some of these matchups and everything is subject to change. But either way it’s gonna be exciting and I can’t wait for hockey!

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