The AHL released its rules changes and playoff format from this week’s Board of Governors meeting. It’s yet another chance for people to get worked up over the California teams’ playing 68 games as opposed to everyone else’s 76. Logically, to account for the imbalance, the playoffs in the Pacific Division — and in the Western Conference, as the divisions are unbalanced and apparently you can’t just stick with the top four in each division — will be based on points percentage rather than straight points. Points earned over points potentially earned. Go 7-2-0-1 in 10 games, that’s 15 of 20 points, .750 points percentage. Relatively basic arithmetic, though dividing by 136 and 152 at the end will probably drive people bonkers and they’ll yet again be worked up over schedules*. Anyway.
–So, yeah, the playoffs are divisional again. (Fan here. Rivalries are good. Though the league’s in the midst of upheaval and some rivalries won’t be built before they’re dismantled. But take your chances.) The unbalanced divisions, as noted, mean that if the fifth-place team in the Atlantic (Bridgeport’s division) has more points than the fourth-place team in the North, or if the fifth-place team in the Central has a better points percentage than the fourth-place Pacific team, it’ll cross over, like in the olden days of 2010 when Bridgeport got sent to Hershey, and we all know what happened next. Anyway.
–Still a best-of-five first round.
–Overtime will be three-on-three for five minutes, changing ends, followed by a shootout if necessary. The #dryscrape remains. So does #pointsforall.
–The AHL follows the NHL by instituting a “coach’s challenge.” Sort of follows, anyway. Here, the coach can only challenge (assuming he still has a time out) based on the video-review criteria that already existed, which basically only includes goals — pucks in the net, pucks batted or kicked or headed in, pucks across the line before the net was dislodged/time expired, and the like — so it may only come into play if a referee was particularly obstinate about not reviewing a questionable play around the net.
–Rather than the visiting centerman always having to be the first to set his stick for a faceoff, now in an attack zone, the defending centerman will have to put his stick down first. Another advantage for offense.
Montreal just announced a knee injury for New Canaan’s Max Pacioretty that’ll keep him out an expected 12 weeks.
UNH finally announced what the Courant’s Mike Anthony reported long ago: Mike Souza goes home as associate head coach.
A reminder that next week is The Big Assist in Stamford. Justin DiBenedetto is apparently scheduled to attend, and now I have really got to talk the boss into letting me go.
RIP, Ken Stabler and Omar Sharif. And RIP, Roy C. Bennett, whose songwriting partner, Sid Tepper, died last year without our noticing. Carl Perkins’ “Glad All Over,” which is what leads to all the Beatles references in their obits, is a fine little piece. (Hat tip on the latter: Stan Capp.)
*-Have I ever spouted off about the “shootout every night” idea? Can’t find it on the blog, so maybe not. Have a shootout at the end of every first period. If the game’s tied after 60, the winner of the shootout wins the game. The standings are wins and losses. The first tiebreaker is non-“shootout” wins. Goalies still get W-L-T like the olden days. I first wrote it years ago as satire, but now as OT gets even more gimmicky I kind of want it. Plus it’d be one fewer calculation for the people worked up over the 68/76 thing.