Montreal Canadiens: Shea Weber isn’t sure if a tournament playoff is fair

SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 7: Shea Weber #6 of the Montreal Canadiens skates away from Erik Haula #56 of the Florida Panthers with the puck at the BB&T Center on March 7, 2020 in Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers defeated the Canadiens 4-1. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 7: Shea Weber #6 of the Montreal Canadiens skates away from Erik Haula #56 of the Florida Panthers with the puck at the BB&T Center on March 7, 2020 in Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers defeated the Canadiens 4-1. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /
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The 24-team model seems to be the frontrunner for the playoffs if the NHL resumes and an ‘everyone in’ tournament is another idea, but Montreal Canadiens captain Shea Weber isn’t sure it would be fair.

Without live hockey to watch, fans have had to turn to other means for their fill of sports entertainment. NHL.com has made games for this season free to rewatch, while platforms have been showing games from the past for fans of the present to enjoy. It hasn’t stopped there as players have been live streaming games, making TikToks and taking part in video chats. The most recent one featured Montreal Canadiens captain Shea Weber.

The video call included other stars from the Atlantic Division with Victor Hedman, Aleksander Barkov and Jack Eichel engaged in the discussion as well. Hearing Weber say “Merci” to Habs fans was warming while hearing how the other players were coping with the NHL pause was interesting.

"I just want to say merci and thank you guys for all your support and sticking with us through these tough times."

But the real meat of the conversation came from a talk on how the rest of the season should play out.

Hedman said it would be tough to start the playoffs right away, which other players have voiced as well. It does seem as if the NHL would want to finish the regular season in some capacity before the playoffs start to allow teams to get a decent flow going.

But what about the playoffs? How should they play out?

The 24-team format has been a popular solution, and the only one actively talked about. In it, teams would be ranked based on points percentage; the top eight get a pass while the remaining 16 teams take place in a three-game serious to decide who gets to move on.

Barkov said he would prefer a tournament-style Stanley Cup Playoffs. Whether it has the entire NHL take part or only the 24 years, the Montreal Canadiens would be included in that. Even still, Shea Weber doesn’t think it would fair to those teams who are already solidified for playoff contention.

Class act the Habs captain is. At the same time, he’s absolutely right.

Having the playoffs come down to one game per series is risky as either decision is likely. Parity is a well-known thing in the NHL, that’s how you can see games where the Boston Bruins (1st in the league) can lose a game to the Detroit Red Wings (last in the league). You never know what can happen and having a format such as that could cheat a good team of putting up a good performance in the regular season.

Even a 24-team playoff could be difficult. Imagine a scenario where a team who never would’ve made the playoffs beats a team who only qualified because of the extension. Say, for example, the Montreal Canadiens beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. The Penguins were in a spot for the majority of the season, while the Habs were included based on a technicality to find some last-minute revenue.

If the NHL wants to follow the wavelength of Shea Weber, there are only two things they can do (both including some sort of training camp/exhibition).

  1. Have a short continuation of the regular season, which allows all teams to get to a certain number of games played (i.e. 73) and then begin the playoffs.
  2. Seed teams in each conference based on their points percentage and start the playoffs immediately.

Habs must change the nature of their roster construction. dark. Next

Even if it means the Montreal Canadiens aren’t in, having a situation with a significant upset wouldn’t generate the same kind of outrage the NHL is used to. That’s something to keep in mind.