Every year when the calendar flips to March, the groaning and grumbling grows a little louder as the playoff picture comes into focus.
Fans, coaches and even a few general managers alike have griped: Can we do something about this %&#$ing playoff format?
Three of the NHL’s top five teams are guaranteed to be eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs in the second round or earlier, based on the standings entering Monday night’s action.
Only two of Tampa Bay, Calgary, Boston, San Jose and Toronto could make it to the Conference Final with the current bracket format.
But the playoff format won’t be a topic of conversation at this week’s annual GM meetings in sunny South Florida.
“It’s not on the agenda,” NHL senior executive vice-president Colin Campbell said Monday.
Campbell joked that the topic was above his pay grade. But Campbell’s superiors, commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly, have been unwavering in their support for the current format. There is little appetite for change, both from the executive side and the majority of general managers, the stewards of the game.