Lord Stanley's Review: All Division Winners Are Gone

Published on 12-May-2016 by J Square Humboldt
NHL / NHL Daily Update

No one remembers who won a division.

The North American playoff format owes much of its origins to the Stanley Cup tournament.

The model everywhere else -- ie- British-originated sports such as soccer, rugby, and cricket -- was to conduct bracket competitions during  the season.

When the ten-team NHL assumed control over the Cup in 1926, it became the de facto determinant of the league's champion.

In essence, this turned the regular season into a seeding exercise that diminished the luster of spending half a calendar year actually winning something.

And so it is that four NHL teams this spring are viewed as achieving hollow victories.

Two of them have had a while to rue their fate:

The other two were top seeds in the Eastern and Western Conferences, for whatever that was worth.

Which wasn't much.

Who'd ever seen a game that featured three straight delay penalties for undisputable puck flips into the crowd?

And in the overtime, Jay Beagle made the odds-on non-goalie save of the year:

Vailiant.

But that and a fiver will him a latté, and don't expect any Presidents' Trophy parades in the District.

As for the Dallas Stars, so much for the invincibility of Finnish goalies.

It's right up there with winning the Prez's vase:

So, there it is.

When their schedule mandated preparing for a different opponent virtually every time, these four clubs were the season's best.

But when it came down to constant exposure to only one nemesis every other day, well ...

Ask the Caps, who've now lost to the Penguins in eight of nine post-season series.

What's really different is the format.

And it's enough to alter the perception of an entire year's work.

Table 'dailypla_database.metrics_robots' doesn't exist