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Do The Stanley Cup Playoffs Have A Parity Problem?

Carolina Hurricanes v Washington Capitals - Game Seven

The thing that’s great about the NHL is that there are no super teams. Sure, there are some wagons here and there. But it’s not like the NBA or anything where you know there’s a damn good chance that we end up seeing the same teams year after year in the Finals.

But the thing that’s bad about the NHL is that there are no super teams. And we’ve found that out in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Through the first 8 series of playoff hockey this year, we’ve seen the Presidents Trophy winning Tampa Bay Lightning get swept in 4 games. We saw the Western Conference champion Calgary Flames get bounced in 5 games. We saw the Central Division champion Nashville Predators end their run after 6 games against Dallas. And then last night, we saw the defending Stanley Cup Champions go down in a game 7 2OT.

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All four division winners are done and it’s not even May yet. Or if you’re a glass half-full kind of guy, I guess you could say that all four Wild Card teams have advanced. And that’s something that I think a lot of people romanticize the Stanley Cup Playoffs about. People love the fact that the Stanley Cup Playoffs is the one tournament where you can truthfully say that all you need to do is get in, and then you never know what could happen. But has it gone too far?

I’m just saying that you look at the popularity of the NBA and the NFL. What do they have in common? The fact that–for the most part–they are super predictable. The Golden State Warriors are always going to win and the New England Patriots are always going to win. Maybe not every single time but definitely for the most part. And if they don’t win, well they still end up coming pretty damn close.

Would be pretty hard for a bunch of people who only start to watch hockey during the playoffs to care when they’re watching a series between the Hurricanes and Islanders, and they can’t even name a single player on either roster. They know guys like Crosby, Ovechkin, McDavid and Matthews. They don’t know Barzal or Aho or MacKinnon or Tarasenko. So is parity killing the NHL? You tell me.

Sidenote: Just to be real for a moment here, I’ll admit that I’m well over the #PleaseLikeMySport phase of my life. Maybe not for blogging purposes but definitely in my real life. I realize that hockey is just never going to be as popular as other sports like football and basketball, so I know that the Stanley Cup Playoffs are just for hockey fans and that we shouldn’t constantly be trying to get more people to watch them.

@BarstoolJordie