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Craig’s Corner: Embrace the Chaos

Photo by Gene Puskar

Craig’s Corner: Embrace the Chaos

Change is never easy.

Actually, I’ve heard someone say, “Nothing is worse than change. Whether it’s jingling in your pocket, or circumstances messing with your routine.”

On the other hand, change can be fun and exciting. You could be changing jobs, moving to a new house, or experiencing a 24-team NHL postseason for the first time.

For the sake of this article, let’s go with the fun and exciting option. Referencing my last article, in a year where change and chaos is the new normal, let’s take it to the next level.

Since it looks like the NHL is going with a 24-team playoff system, how else can we turn the sport upside down?

Let the teams pick their opponent.

Start with Boston, the number one team overall, and have them choose any of the remaining 23 teams to face in the first round of the playoffs. Then go to St. Louis for their pick of who to play, and so on.

If we weren’t swinging for the fences, you could say each team has to pick within their respective conferences, but hey, chaos is the name of the game so let’s open it up.

What about round two? Do you go back to the top seeds playing the lowest seeds? Nope! Let’s do the playoff draft all over again for each round until the finals.

Imagine the NHL hosting a Zoom call with the 24 general managers – or their star players – calling out the teams they wish to play in the playoffs. Imagine how some of those rivalries could build with one simple playoff series.

I’m visualizing Penguins’ star centreman Sidney Crosby saying he wants to play the Flyers because, “I don’t like any guy on their team. I don’t like them.” Or maybe Boston’s Brad Marchand would say he wants to play the Leafs because it seems impossible for the Bruins to lose to Toronto in the playoffs. Or what if Winnipeg’s own Blake Wheeler said he wants an easy win in his home state so he picks the Wild?

After statements like these, it wouldn’t take until Game 2 for the bad blood to spill over.

I can’t take credit for this idea, as I’ve heard it on other platforms in the past, but if there was ever a time to go down this road, why not now?

Embrace the chaos. No matter what happens, 2020 will always have some type of asterisk beside it. So let’s swing for the fences.

Hockey feels so close to returning and it can’t come soon enough. I know the fans are ready.

Let’s hope the players are, too.

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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