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NHL player representatives sound off on playoff format

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AP
Published 2:06 a.m. ET April 22, 2019

In an Associated Press and Canadian Press survey of player representatives from all 31 NHL teams, 48.4% favored changing the current divisional playoff format. A selection of player responses:

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“In my opinion, I prefer the 1 plays 8 format. Divisions that are stronger have teams eliminated in the first round that should have a chance to gather steam and make pushes deeper into the playoffs.” — JONATHAN TOEWS, Chicago.

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“Everyone knows what it should be: 1 through 8. The way it used to be.” — JUSTIN FAULK, Carolina.

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“I can’t think of a player that really likes the way it is. It always seems to work out where one division is significantly stronger like last year with Winnipeg and Nashville playing in the second round and absolutely beating the crap out of each other to seven games.” — DEVAN DUBNYK, Minnesota.

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“I think there’s the concern with the top teams playing against each other and clashing at the beginning, where you’re kind of losing one of the top three seeds of the NHL just from the first two rounds of the playoffs. So I don’t know if anything is really necessary to change, but it would definitely would be interesting and fun if they wanted to do that.” — BRANDON CARLO, Boston.

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“I think there’s pros and cons to both. It obviously gives those division matchups for the first round are given. And I think that’s exciting. I think if you’re in a position if you’re a 2-3-4 seed, you would have loved to have a better matchup. If you’re the 2 seed you’re playing the 3 seed. That might be tough. I totally get that. I don’t really have a bone to pick with it right now.” — ANDERS LEE, New York Islanders.

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“You might play a team over and over, but that’s how you create the rivalries, but at the same token some teams might get a better match-up if it was 1 through 8. There’s pros and cons. It’s tough to say. I think it’s been working well to be honest, and I don’t see that changing too much.” — DYLAN DEMELO, Ottawa.

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“I like it. I do. It keeps a little bit of the appreciation as far as how hard it is to win the Stanley Cup. I might be biased, but it’s the hardest trophy to win in sports I feel. I think you change that format and personally it would take away from how hard some of those guys have worked to win the Cup before they did change it. That’s how I would feel. I like the format that we have now.” — ZACH BOGOSIAN, Buffalo.

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