Every year we hear the same thing: The playoff system is broken! (Not My)Team only got 1st round home ice for winning their division but (insert relevant number) teams were better. (Not My)Team shouldn’t have home ice just for winning the division, (insert shrill rant that sounds like it came from a four year old about 15 minutes after Mom should have put them to bed about fairness) this other (Possibly My)Team should have home ice. Continue onto the “geographic divisions are obsolete” discussion and you’ve seen every possible post on why the current system needs to go that isn’t actually worth reading.
The only reason to scrap the current playoff system that makes sense in the dollars way is to either A: expand the number of teams in it or 2: add more games D: introduce a new element that gets more people to watch without alienating the core audience. That’s it. I’m only in favor of a fraction of those, but I’ll let you guess which ones.
Divisions may be superficially geographic in fact they are. And the playoff races are not entirely based on ice level vents. But they haven’t been since the NHL expanded. They are business designations. The NHL like every other major sporting league sets them up to benefit the business as a whole. The Southeast division is comprised entirely of teams with growth potential. They can all spend 25% more than the salary cap floor and stand a good chance of still playing games that mean something in March. The Northeast division is comprised of teams where the home crowds know hockey and bleed their teams colors, and will even support them (to a varying degree) when they are bad with the expectation they won’t ever cry poor mouth and throw a bunch of jabronis on the ice.
The central division is essentially two really big cities with hockey in the blood who are close enough to help fill the stands to other teams in the market. It’s not hard to figure out. It’s not like trying to figure out what idiocy kept the owners of the Thrashers from ever putting the damn good players they had over the top with a little help. It isn’t like trying to figure out a way for Martin Havlat or Rick Dipietro to reach even a normal level of durability. It just takes the realization that the NHL is a business, and as a collective they do better if more teams are in the races longer, selling more concessions and getting more eye-prints on screens.
So don’t blame (Not Your)Team or even the system for being “unfair”, it’s real life not a childrens game. The NHL exists to make money, not be some 11th century morality play on ice.