‘Keep it at 16 teams’: Why NHL players don’t want expanded playoffs
The most surprising thing I found during NHL All-Star Weekend was not Sidney Crosby’s fondness for dunk tanks or that there wasn’t a single Chipotle restaurant in Montreal where Nick Suzuki could claim his year’s supply of bowls and burritos. Although they were stunning in themselves, one should not live by Putin alone.
No, the point was that NHL players, by and large, don’t want teams to make the Stanley Cup playoffs.
“Keep it at the 16 team level. You have to make it really hard to do it,” Colorado Avalanche star Nathan McKinnon told me.
“I think 16 is good. You must earn a place in the playoffs. This is the reality,” said Carolina Hurricanes winger Andrey Svechnikov.
“After all, you are pretty exhausted and exhausted. It’s a good place they found,” said Vegas Golden Knights center Chandler Stephenson.
Most of the players I’ve talked to about expanding the playoffs share this sentiment: Bringing in more teams will make their difficult regular season cheaper and dull their playoff triumph.
“It’s hard to get into the playoffs, as more and more teams can make it,” one NHL veteran told me. “It’s hard to get into 16 out of 32 places. This is what you work for the whole season. Even if you lost in the first round, you did it, you understand?”
None of the players I spoke to pounded the table with their fists and demanded an expansion of the playoffs. At best, some players whose teams are not currently in the playoffs power were… let’s just say, a little more accepting of the idea.
“I like it the way it is. I don’t know how much more the extension will bring him,” Brock Nelson of the New York Islanders said, “but I’m open-minded.”