It’s no secret that the Carolina Hurricanes are not happy about having to play a best-of-five “play-in” series against the New York Rangers. And they are making it known to the world. The Hurricanes and the Tampa Bay Lightning were the only two teams that voted against the 24-team format that was presented to, and ultimately approved by the NHLPA, 29-2.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman has caught wind of a couple of playoff proposals pitched by the Carolina Hurricanes to the league, all of which would have made it much easier for the ‘Canes to advance beyond their play-in round series against the Rangers.
Their primary proposal would have forced their play-in opponent, the Rangers, to win four of the five games. If Carolina won twice in that scenario, the series would have been over and the Hurricanes would have automatically advanced.
Friedman requested a copy of the proposal, however the Hurricanes politely declined to share. Needless to say the proposal was ultimately rejected by the league.
Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour is also not happy with the playoff format released by the league this week. “I think the bigger issue felt like, and especially our guys, was like ‘what was the 68 games we played for?’ What did we grind for? The bulk of the season was completed, and they just threw that out, and I think that’s how [the Hurricanes] felt,” he said during an interview on the “ESPN on Ice” podcast. “I think that’s justifiable in a way.”
“Why not carry the points over that you have?” he said. “If we’re playing in — I think the thought was if you’re playing in, five, six, seven games, however, we could easily have all had the same amount of games, figured that out and that would have been your play-in, and take your points with you and see how you end up.”
And, oh, by the way, the Hurricanes are 0-5 in their last five meetings with the Rangers.
Fairness aside, if I’m a New York Rangers fan this is music to my ears. It’s bulletin board material. Proposing to the league that New York should be required to win four of the five games doesn’t exactly scream confidence to my team. Winning a Stanley Cup is a war road that requires winning numerous fights and battles along the way, not a flower-lined path, tailored to your liking.
If the Hurricanes wanted it easier, they should have won more games during the regular season. THAT’s what the regular season was for. THAT’s what the grind was for.
By Jon Sorensen