Bettman on NHL playoff format: 'Works extremely well...unless you're a Leafs fan'

·Hockey writer

When the Toronto Maple Leafs are getting sympathy from the NHL’s commissioner, there might be a slight problem.

Gary Bettman — no doubt with a smirk on his face — was asked about the current playoff format at his press availability for the NHL’s Heritage Classic event and he responded in a fairly specific way.

The NHL’s current standings system was implemented prior to the start of the 2013-14 season. With the inclusion of a wild card and keeping the first round of the playoffs within the divisions, the main goal was to create more lengthy rivalries.

If teams are always running into each other in the first round of the post-season, it makes sense that they would be fairly annoyed at one another after a couple of series.

With KeyArena over his shoulder in the window at left, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman talks to visitors Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, at a luncheon prior to a news conference in Seattle. Bettman said Wednesday the NHL has promised Seattle it will host the hockey All-Star Game within its first seven seasons, with the team slated to begin play in 2021-22 in a renovated KeyArena. Bettman also said Seattle will host the NHL draft, likely before the All-Star Game arrives. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Gary Bettman had some fun at the Leafs' expense. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins have faced each other the past two years and the latter have twice been able to clinch the victory in Game 7. Because of the fairly top-heavy division between the two rivals and the Tampa Bay Lightning, it almost seems guaranteed that Toronto and Boston will face off once again.

With how the seasons have started for both teams, it makes sense for Leafs fans to feel insecure about this possibility.

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