The NHL playoffs have been outstanding thus far. Indeed, hockey betting aficionados and the average fan have enjoyed the drama and high level action. However, as we advance later and later in the season we’re seeing the injuries pile up on all sides.
A Shorter NHL Season Would Help the Playoffs
The lack of impact players and skill depth has started to take its toll in the third round. We’re seeing top flight talent like Ducks goalie John Gibson and forward Rikard Rakell miss games. The same can be said for the likes of Ryan Johansen of the Predators. Don’t even get us started on the amount of absences the Penguins have suffered in these playoffs.
The NHL playoffs are grueling. It’s the toughest postseason in professional sports. We get that. And some of these injuries sustained are simply a part of the game and cannot be avoided.
But I have to ask myself how much of these injuries are being suffered as a result of either a tired player or because their body has endured so many blows throughout the lengthy hockey season. It’s a valid point.
You play 82 games after a number of preseason matchups, and then you have the physical animal that is the playoffs. It can be so unforgiving on the body.
This season, the NHL instituted what they call a bye week for each team. And while the intention is good we saw teams who returned from the bye week largely get smoked right out of the gate. It’s clear the league recognizes that rest and a break from the physical play is required. So why not leave the bye week in and have a shorter NHL season by a week as well?
In other words, instead of 82 regular season games, what about playing 78 games? It may seem like a lot of lost revenue for the owners. But what about the lost players to man games? That costs teams a chance to contend and it even costs them money (since they have to call up or trade for other players).
I realize that we’ll always have players getting injured and being lost in the playoffs. But I have to think that the numbers would be noteworthy lower if we just had a few less games a year.
Matthew Ross is a sports commentator and a radio host on TSN 690 Radio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Follow him @MatthewWords.