Hodgemail: Should the NHL increase its playoff membership? Staff

3/12/2012 8:50:20 PM

TSN's Dave Hodge sounds off on all the hockey issues of the day in Hodgemail. Write in to answer Dave's weekly question and watch the NHL on TSN tonight to see if he reads your response.

Earlier this month, Major League Baseball turned a few heads with the announcement that it was expanding its playoff format to 10 teams this season by adding a wild-card club to each league.

A grand total of ten teams (out of 30) will make the postseason, relatively increasing the chances of a club winning the World Series.

So should the National Hockey League add a couple of more teams to the playoff picture as well?

Back in the 1990-91 season, only five of the NHL's 21 teams missed the playoffs. And with the addition of nine more teams over the next decade, just over 50 percent of the clubs end up playing hockey in the spring.

So here's Dave's question to you was: "Major League Baseball has added two playoff teams. Should the NHL increase its playoff membership?"   

And here are the answers that Dave liked best:

Tony says:  "Sure.  More late-season interest in more cities, more money generated by more teams, more playoff opportunities for more players…everybody wins."

Jonathan writes:  "I'll make the same case for hockey that I made for baseball.  Whatever helps Toronto get into the playoffs."   (we heard the same sentiment from Winnipeg and Edmonton, and.....)

We heard this from Harold, a fan in Calgary:  "Now that the Flames are in eighth place, I can say we don't need it, but check with me next year."

Steve offers this logic: "if and when they add expansion teams, they can add playoff teams, but not before."

Murray states flatly: "No.  The playoffs are long enough as it is.....any longer and I'll be divorced."  (You mean, go back to the '90s when you made the playoffs unless you were Hartford?)

Larry says: "If there were more playoff teams, there would be more buyers and fewer sellers at the trade deadline."  (ah yes, it's all about the trade deadline).

And Dave's Reply to All:

For as long as the NHL has allowed 16 teams into the playoffs, it has heard the criticism that post-season participation is too easy.

But all it takes for someone to suggest it should be made easier is a team that misses the playoffs by a point or two and a general manager who tries to sell the idea that 90-plus points should be rewarded somehow.

Here's an idea, a new system that has 20 playoff teams.  The bottom eight in a short first round, the winners joining the other 12 in the second round.

That number is hard to stomach, as it's only 10 less than the nutty idea of Islanders owner Charles Wong that all 30 teams should make the playoffs.

Baseball can sell two more playoff teams because two more only makes 10.

The best you can say for 16 is that hockey fans are accustomed to it--the number is not going down and it shouldn't go up.