Power Rankings: Week 6
The East and the West look like they’re both going to be messes as the season wears on, mainly because ten teams deserve to make the playoffs in one and about six in the other. I don’t really know why we cling to the arbitrary nature of divisions, especially ones with so little history as these. It does make sense for a division winner to gain an automatic playoff birth. You don’t want a winner in a tough division to miss out because they came out of the Thunderdome with a subpar record. But having what essentially amounts to three auto-qualifiers is a little ridiculous. So too is prizing manufactured “rivalry play” over more accurate seedings designed to keep the best teams from playing one another until the end.
I don’t know how much contentiousness you can stir up just by having teams play each other more often. As the Sabres and basically the entire rest of their division have proved that’s usually not enough, and as Boston and Vancouver have proved, definitely not necessary. With every team playing each other at least twice, I think you have enough intra-division play to be able to throw all the teams into the same ranking pool together. I wouldn’t mind seeing the four division winners taking seeds 1-4 and then a playoffs based around a complete 1-16 ranking system. Anyway, here’s what the teams look like all ranked together. Spoiler: The East sucks.