The NHL is going all-out for its playoff format, and the league is hoping that a new playoff tournament will make the season more exciting for fans.
The league’s Executive Committee met Thursday in Toronto and is expected to make its recommendation to the owners this week.
“We’re trying to create an environment where we can have a better season,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters Thursday, adding that the league will be holding a “public meeting” next week to determine whether a new tournament should be created.
“What we’re trying for is to create a better regular season, better playoff experience for fans,” Bettman said.
“And I think we’ll have a good idea by the time we get back to you on Sunday.
But that will be in the next few days.”
The NHL has had a regular season since 1985 and the playoffs since 1992.
But it’s been a tough year for the league’s playoff picture.
Last season was the worst since 2003-04, when the league lost 10 playoff games and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1985.
The NHL’s regular-season record of 22-28-5 is tied with the New York Islanders and New York Rangers for fifth-worst in the league.
Last season’s playoff record was also tied with Washington and Detroit for seventh-worst.
The Sabres have been in the postseason since 2010, and they have won seven of the past eight playoff games.
The NHL’s playoff format will allow the NHL to have a much-needed advantage in the Eastern conference, which has been in a tailspin since the 2014 lockout.
The Eastern Conference has a combined record of 57-42-9 this season, and that includes four division titles.
The East has been the worst in the NHL this season.
The playoffs are also a chance to test new goalie equipment and new goalie systems.
The owners and NHL Players’ Association will meet this week to discuss how the playoffs will be handled.
Bettman also addressed a few more hot topics.
He said he’s looking forward to seeing how teams are doing in the first week of the season.
“I’m very excited to see how the players are playing,” Bettmann said.
“If you look at our schedule, we’ve had four games that we won by double digits.
We’ve had three games that the goalie has won.
And we’ve got two games that were pretty close, where the goalie’s had to come out and win.
I think the fans have a lot to be excited about this year.
We haven’t had a lot of bad games, and we’ve won games that are a little bit close.”