Let the 2014 NHL Playoffs Begin!

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It’s the most stressful time of the year! And that slight remix to a holiday classic doesn’t only apply to the approaching finals but apply to the National Hockey League playoffs beginning in less than 24 hours.

Tomorrow the NHL playoffs are starting and this writer is becoming more anxious by the minute. Hockey is my favorite sport (note I have never played this sport) and “my” team is everything to me. After 82 regular-season games I cannot wait to see the Chicago Blackhawks head into the post season to defend their 2013 Stanley Cup Champion title. Though that is the very reason I’m giving myself bald spots atop my head.

The Blackhawks hold the 3rd seed in the Western Conference’s Central Division and will face the 2nd seeded St. Louis Blues Thursday in St. Louis. My issue with this post-season’s set up is the seeding. Here’s how it breaks down…

Seasons past the top 8 teams made it to the post-season, the top teams played the bottom; first seed vs. eight seed and so on. This meant that the intensity increased each round; an eight seed could have their Cinderella moment and upset the first in their conference.

Instead we have the leader in their conferences division playing each other, then the 2nd and 3rd in one of the three conference divisions (one being the “wild card”) playing each other.

Lets look at the Western Conference: the leader in the Central Division, Colorado Avalanche, will play the first wild card team, the Minnesota Wild –this applies to the Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars. While the 2nd and 3rd placed team in both Divisions play each other.

 2014 nhl western conf.

Maybe this is to change up the monotonous series setup that we’ve been used to for so long, maybe the team presidents got bored or saw that their team would have a chance this way, all I know is that it is frustrating. This design takes away from building up the energy that flows into the Conference Finals –and eventually the Cup Finals. Each round would offer predictable wins/losses and keep fans into the playoffs over its entirety. This season fans from big markets may drop out of watching early on if their team is eliminated (Chicago/St. Louis in the first round, or New York/Philly first round of the Eastern Conference).

Moving forward with first round predictions!

In the Western Conference:

Colorado Avalanche in 5 games over the Minnesota Wild, the Chicago Blackhawks in 7 games over the St. Louis Blues, the Anaheim Ducks in 6 over the Dallas Stars, and the San Jose Sharks in 5 games against the LA Kings.

First round of the Eastern Conference:

The Boston Bruins win against the Detroit Red Wings in 6, the Montreal Canadians in 7 versus the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Pittsburgh Penguins in 6 games over the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Philadelphia Flyers in 7 games against the New York Rangers.

Of course all of these predictions could be totally wrong or completely correct, guess we’ll have to wait and see. More updates to follow each round or team exit!