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Craig’s Corner: The New Normal?

Photo by James Carey Lauder

Craig’s Corner: The New Normal?

So it’s looking like it will be a 24-team tournament for the right to lift Lord Stanley’s mug. That’s going to be, well, different.

Hockey is a sport that has a lot of traditionalists. Actually, all sports have a solid following of traditionalists. Ones that say, “We can’t change anything because this is the way it’s always been”.

I get this argument. How can you compare generation to generation, or even year to year, if the game has changed? People will always try, even if it is impossible to do.

But this year is going to be different. It’s going to be different because 2020 has been different.

In a certain way, isn’t that kind of poetic? In a bizarre year when the economy has been turned on its head, people have been barricaded in their homes, and the unthinkable has occurred, why wouldn’t we turn the sports world on its head and uproot everything we thought was set in stone?

Yes. In the words of Larry the Enticer, sometimes, “You just gotta send it”.

But what will this do for the future? Is change going to be the new normal? After making a league-altering change like this, is it going to be easier to make changes on the fly in the future?

Or will this allow the league to set some rules on this topic? What if this isn’t the last global pandemic we see in our lifetime? It would be great to know that the league has planned for something like this should it happen again, thus averting some chaos.

I can’t see the league changing the rules on the fly again, but it’s worth the conversation to say how easy or difficult changing on the fly really is.

Hey, it’s 2020. Chaos is our normal for the time-being. But let’s not make chaos our normal for the long run. If it has to get us through the year, then great. Maybe a 24-team playoff is what we need this year to get our postseason fix. But after that, let’s right the ship and get back to normal.

Speaking of going back to normal, I get that divisional battles and rivalries are fun, but does anyone else want to see the teams seeded No. 1 to 8 conference-wide for the playoffs?

Craig Neufeld is a passionate hockey writer and fan and has dedicated much of his life to playing and working within the sports world. From rural Manitoba, when Craig is not working, he enjoys playing hockey and curling in winter, as well as being on the golf course or baseball diamond in summer.

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