Could The Crossover Work?

An article in the Windsor star states that the NHL would be better suited if a cross-over effect took place in the playoffs. Personally, I wouldn’t mind it either. The article says:

“They did it again Saturday. The Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings clashed once more in what remains the league’s most hotly-contested rivalry, supplying another memorable meeting which left fans on the edge of their seats and viewers glued to their television sets.

Whenever these teams square off, the hockey world watches and with good reason.

Last spring, for the fifth time since 1996, the Wings and Avs battled in the midst of the Stanley Cup playdowns. It was the most exciting hockey played during the entire tournament.

Which is a shame, really.

A shame that such a performance will never be witnessed on the biggest stage of all, in the Stanley Cup final.

“It would be a great series, no doubt about that,” Colorado captain Joe Sakic said.

In the current NHL, the West is best and the East is least. The weekend action at Joe Louis Arena only served to hammer home that point.

One night after Saturday’s battle with the Avs, the Wings, the top-ranked squad in the NHL’s Western Conference, met Ottawa, the East’s No. 1 seed and smacked the Senators all over the ice.

Time for change It’s long past time that the league addressed this issue, before we’re forced to endure another feeble final like last spring’s Detroit-Carolina debacle.

Why not play host to a final which would garner ratings, instead of indifference?

It’s not like it hasn’t been done before.

When the National Hockey League doubled in size from six to 12 teams back in 1967, NHL governors decided to situate the new teams in the West Division and have that division winner face off in the Stanley Cup final with one of the established clubs, all grouped together in the East Division.

After the Eastern winners swept the West Division champion St. Louis Blues three years in succession, it was obvious the NHL had managed to turn its marquee event into an anti-climax.

Change was required to put the bang back in the Cup final.

From 1971-74, teams crossed over at the semifinal stage, with the top seed in the West meeting the second seed in the East and vice-versa.

It was a good idea at that time and an idea that’s time has come again.

“We’ve talked about things like that,” Detroit coach Dave Lewis acknowledged.

“There should be crossovers at some point.”

That point would be now. And forever.

Geography should have no bearing on playoff formats. The pursuit of pitting the most qualified teams against each other must be the overriding emphasis at all times.

Missed matchups It’s equally sad that hockey never witnessed an Oilers-Flames final in the 1980s.

“That’s what the Stanley Cup stands for, the two best teams playing for the trophy,” Lewis said. “It would be exciting (to see a Detroit-Colorado final), but there’s not much we can do.

“It’s up to the league.”

During the four springs of crossover semifinals, only one resulted in both finalists emerging from the same side, when Boston defeated the New York Rangers in 1971-72. Coincidentally, those teams finished 1-2 in the NHL during regular-season play that season.

A crossover system doesn’t preclude an East-West final, but it virtually guarantees that two outstanding teams will meet for all the marbles.

At some point this spring, the Avs and Wings will likely have at it again.

“I’m sure we will,” Sakic said. “It’s inevitable, isn’t it?”

Inevitable and unfortunate that the showdown will come so early in the proceedings.

The main event shouldn’t be on the undercard.”

What do you think?

31 Responses to Could The Crossover Work?

  1. DG says:

    It could work. I had originally objected to it because it’s just mere coincidence that the East stinks and the West is great. As teams go through their cycles of achieving and slumping, there would be a time when the best teams in the League would be in both conferences and really coincidental that the East’s teams are slumping and the West is achieving.

    Thinking about it, though, with a cross-over, you’d get the best two teams in the Stanley Cup Final regardless if the best teams are spread out over the conferences or not. You wouldn’t have to worry about a grand slump in one conference because the other could more than make up for it by sending a stronger team to the Final. The only problem is that it could also mean that one conference may not be represented regularly, reducing the conference’s morale because “oh, we never get there”.

    Good idea, though.


  2. jaymes2 says:

    jesus christ, the avs and wings play atleast once a week. im sooo sick of these games. I am one fan who HATES the west style of open ice hockey. bring it to the boards old men. ALSO since when are the avs and wings the 2 best teams in the league??? AND last years finals werent that bad. crossover = gayness

  3. Tradedude says:

    I rate Dallas, Vancouver, maybe Ottawa as the best teams, Wings, Avs, ha! why don’t i just watch my nephew’s hockey game?

  4. Tony says:

    I would love to see a crossover. I hate seeing finals like Detroit vs. Carolina, or Colorado vs. Flordia, or Dallas vs. Bufflo. By doing a crossover there’s the potential to see series that may never happen again. Like Detroit, Chicago vs. Montreal, Toronto, NYR, Boston. Those would help hockey in alot of ways. Fans would be more interested, ratings would go up, the players would love it, and in the end I think the league would love it.

  5. MarshallMathers says:

    This would be good that way you can find out how bad the east is compared to the west

  6. JeffBurnz09 says:

    I don’t think it would be a bad idea. I personally like things the way they are now, but would be open to change. But if this is all about getting Detroit vs Colorado in the finals, then the hell with it. Why do people go on and on and on about Colorado? Turn on a hockey game,and 9 times out of 10 whos playing? Colorado! ESPN and other networks go on and on about Colorado being the favorite, and having the best players, and all that crap. Yet I can name SEVEN teams better than them right now!- Dertiot,Dallas,St.Louis,Vancouver, Ottawa New Jersey and Philly. SEVEN teams with more points than Colorado and who do you still hear about over and over? Colorado! It’s pathetic. How many times do you have to see Colorado vs Detroit? I don’t care if it does make a good series, its been done to death. And, wasnt that one hell of a 7th game they had last year?

    But back to the playoff format. The more I think about it, I would rather it stay the same. There has to be some differance between Western and Eastern conferance’s. Like in Baseball, part of the appeal of the World Series is seeing two teams play a series against eachother that you don’t see play that often. Why would I want to see Colorado play Detroit in a series when I’ve seen it at least every month of the season?

  7. FMIR says:

    i cant stand watching western conference teams play each other wide open or not….that game on ABC between detroit and colorado was horrendous while i did enjoy the devils vs rangers.

    im not totally opposed to a cross-over scheme depending on how they set it up. i just hope they dont change the game too much to bring in american fans

  8. jaymes2 says:

    when has it ever been a shitty team like buffalo or tampa bay against detroit in the cup playoffs? hmm maybe you people just like to watch goals fly and old men make more money. Id rather watch the devils put on a defensive clinic. THE WEST ISNT THAT GREAT (case and point San Jose, Los Angeles, Calgary Edmonton, Phoenix, and more). there are 2 teams of power id say. canucks and wings. the rest can suck it. watch ottawa win the cup this year and shove it up the west’s ass with all the money players

  9. bigdog says:

    Crossover could work if you’re all about ratings, but one of the great things about the Cup final is that you’re matching up two teams who haven’t seen much of each other throughout the regular season and have completely different styles of play.

    Detroit pounding Ottawa was a fluke, and I’m no Sens fan. And, while Colorado and Detroit provide entertaining and excellent games, playoff intensity is unrivaled by any regular season game. Who would have thought the Leafs and Islanders would play a series like last year?

    Imagine having your entire conference being shut out to the possibility of winning the Cup? Or some set of occurances going on and winding up with a snoozer of a final with the Devils and, say Philly going head to head.

    IF a format were to be adopted where crossovers would occur, semi-finals are too late. Take the top 16 teams overall from the conferences combined, with the top of each division seeded 1-6. Have a one-sided set of playoff brackets leading up to the Cup, like one quarter of the NCAA/March Madness brackets. Oh wait, that sounds ridiculous.

  10. bigdog says:

    Colorado has more Stanley cups in the past 10 years than 5 of those 7 teams. Experience is a huge factor when it comes to the playoffs, and people know that.

    Points mean nothing when the regular season ends. Boston’s second overall record last year got them nowhere but on the golf course after a handful of games against (8th in the east, 18th overall) Montreal.

  11. bigdog says:

    The West has all the money players?

    Uh, hi, Rangers?

    The East isn’t all that great either. Carolina (Finals last year to basement team? nice…), Buffalo, Atlanta?

    Buffalo lost to Dallas a couple years ago in the Finals, in case you haven’t been watching long or your memory is going.

    Ottawa has a good team, sure, and can put up the points, but I don’t think they have a playoff caliber team. We’ll see how the first round or two goes; by the time they get beat to hell and back by whoever they play, the Sens might not have the energy to get past the third round.

  12. burky says:

    I couldn’t agree more.

    A cross over would be a great way to insure that the 2 top teams should be competing in the finals not the semi-finals. The finals last year should have been Detroit v.s. Colorado, half the teams in the west could of beaten Carolina.

    It also increases the chances of a Vancouver v.s. Toronto or Ottawa series.

  13. amok says:

    I don’t even know where to begin with this one…

    Just look back over the last ten years to see examples of mediocre teams coming out of the east. Florida? Carolina? Even when a good team does come out they are often over matched in a boring sweep (case in point, four straight years of sweeps in the finals, although once the team swept was from the west). Last year’s Colorado/Detroit series was a hell of a lot better than the Wings and Hurricanes. Did anyone outside of Detroit even watch that whole series? Besides, if the East is all that great then why can’t two eastern teams meet in the finals?

    And before you go pointing fingers at the weak western teams you should take a look at some of the eastern bottom dwellers…

  14. JeffBurnz09 says:

    I know points dont mean anything in the playoffs,but the point is, Colorado barely got past LA and San Jose last year, and were blown away by Detroit in the Conferance Finals. They’re never been able to beat Dallas in the playoffs, and only seem to win the West when either Dallas or Detroit are having an off year. They’re in 5th place this year in the West, and 8th over all, yet they are still talked about as if they are the best team in the league. Now I’m not saying they’re good, and I’m not saying they don’t have a chance at winning, but wouldnt it be nice if you mentioned how good the teams that are having good years are? I mean, Ottawa is first over all, and its still all about Colorado?

  15. JeffBurnz09 says:

    Canucks and Wings? Didnt notice that Dallas team that’s a head of the Canucks and a point behind Detroit?

  16. Kroeter says:

    Why stop there, put all the teams together get rid of the conferences, the divisions and seed the teams by points. But why stop there, take the 2 top teams and play them in the cup final, forget the play-offs. What a stupid idea, who is this supposed to please the fans? I didn’t know that Colorado was the 2nd best team last year; oh yeah they weren’t Boston was. Just because the west is a better conference this year dosen’t mean anything. The power shift happens every few years and the east will be stronger again and then back to the west. And as for last years final I know as a hockey fan I was going for Carolina to win because I’m tired of the same teams winning all the time.

  17. BlueNBurgundy says:

    thats funny considering Detroits 6-2 victory over Ottawa the other night..

  18. Pock says:

    Good article and a great idea. Wouldn’t see the same type of final thats for sure. We’d see what a western team looks like if they made it through 2 rounds of solid hitting. I guarentee the eastern style would gain the respect it deserves.

  19. Tony says:

    I think a major point in making the crossover would be having series like Detroit vs Toronto, or any other original 6 matchup that may never happen again because of two conferences.

  20. bruinfan37 says:

    Before they do this crap, they have to change something else. Get the stupid division rule out. If you win ur division u should be placed where u SHOULD be. U should be guarenteed a playoff spot, and if u end up in 8th, so be it… U realize that Carolina had home ice all the way through until they met Detroit? Teams would rather finish 6th, than 4th or 5th, bcuz the team u are playing is weaker

  21. Rampage_Winger says:

    I always thought it was strange that Detroit was in the West considering how far east they are. But in comparison, they are farther west than most (maybe every) Eastern teams. Oh well, this would be a pretty pointless exercise in readjustment. The finals would be more exciting if the top seeds would stop losing in the first round (I’m looking at you, Philly). It seems that every year, the 4, 6, 7, and 8 seeds are the ones that advance in the East. Simply put, the East needs to pick it up in the first round and not underestimate their opponents.

  22. beckfan says:

    And what is wrong w/ American hockey fans?! Thats a fucking bias remark you made Dickie! We dont complain about Canadian baseball or basketball fans even though there arent any cause you cant pick up the concept of the two sports and we also dont complain about Canadians that watch football either ( im talking about the N.F.L. not that gayass Canadian Football League).

    Dude watch what you say next time.

  23. wayne2 says:

    Like it used to be:1-16,2-15 etc or maybe 1-9,2-10 etc.That way,anyteam can face anyteam,could you imagine Colorado-Detroit,Ottawa-Toronto,Boston-Montréal,Edmonton-Calgary,rangers-islanders etc for the cup.All that would be possible and could help popularize rivalries even more + only the true 16 teams would make the playoffs regardless of which section they play in.

  24. FlyersGoCupCrazy says:

    the playoffs are already the most exciting time of the season. stop trying to improve on the best part of hockey. the league should be worrying about making the regular season more exciting. how would they do that, you ask? cut down on inter-conference play, up the division games, and up the home and home series within the division (whats the point of the Flyers playing a home and home with the Wild?). Since most inter conference games suck, only have the playoff teams play each other once, and screew the rest of them. I dont want to watch the Flyers play Calgary. Have more Flyers/Rangers and Flyers/Devils, the only games anybody really watches. Well, thats just my two cents

  25. ak2797 says:

    C’mon the Hawks in any finals?? Maybe for the Calder Cup, but not lord Stanley’s.

  26. Slovakiaz says:

    The CROSSOVER playoffs (E-W) would be perfect !!! Very good idea !

  27. Phailak says:

    Why can’t they keep East and West for standings but make it so 1 VS 16, 2 VS 15 and so on. Give teams that finish 1st overall an edge, and the best teams will often face off in the finals.

  28. OKFlyer says:

    if the east is so bad how come an eastern team has the best record ???? HMMMMM

  29. FlyerinOhio says:

    As I see it, your response has one major flaw in it. I’ll give you some time to figure it out ( as the song from jeopardy plays ). Give up? Your example of how the crossover would be good, i.e. Detroit, Chicago vs. Montreal, Toronto, NYR, and Boston….guess what? The way the playoffs are slotted now..that could happen anyway..Detroit and Chicago are Western teams, and the other 4 are Eastern teams. This year you could have Detroit vs. Toronto anyway.

  30. aaron says:

    Actually, its still all about the West, and w/ Dallas slipping and Vancouver not having much experience, it still boils down to the two teams that have made it to the Western Finals 6 of the last 8 years. Plus, they always make GREAT series. The rivalry really adds to the glamour of those two teams.

    Frankly, I think they should play more often. Like old school Original Six days, where teams played each other 17 times in a season. I don’t care if they play every month; play twice every month. Its great hockey every time they meet.

    Plus, both teams are on absolute TEARS right now (less so Colorado).

    This system ain’t gonna help anything this year, though, b/c Colorado’s gonna finish 4th. We’re probably going to meet up in the second round regardless.

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