By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has no issues with the league’s current playoff format. But he also, with a lockout-eating grin if there ever was one, understands why some people — especially those in Toronto — may not like it.
“We think the format we have works extremely well… unless you’re a Leafs fan,” Bettman offered.
I mean, let’s be real: This format has been hell for the Maple Leafs in back-to-back years. It was in 2018 when Toronto finished as the third-best team in the Atlantic, and the seventh-best team in all of hockey. Their reward for such an achievement after years of torture? A seven-game series with the Bruins (the second-best team in the Atlantic, and fourth-best team in hockey) ultimately lost on Boston ice. The Leafs built off that with the seventh-best record in hockey for the second straight year, but it once again them saw them finish in third in their division, and brought them yet another seven-game series with the Bruins (the third-best team in hockey this time around), and more heartbreak on Boston ice.
Just say “Game 7 in Boston” around Toronto fans and they basically melt like Toht in Ark of the Covenant.
Bettman’s roasting of the GTA doesn’t take away from what’s emerged as a clearly flawed playoff structure, but it may have won him a few more cheers next time he’s in Boston. Just kidding, they’re gonna boo the hell out of him as always.