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Holland 'all for' wild-card play-in games to increase playoff excitement

Dave Sandford / National Hockey League / Getty

Ken Holland lives for early October baseball.

The Detroit Red Wings general manager spoke with TSN's Gary Lawless about the state of hockey and how to increase scoring, and added that he believes the NHL should expand from 16 playoff teams to 18.

"I'm all for an extra team in each conference qualifying for the playoffs and having a wild-card play-in game," Holland opined. "It would add excitement down the stretch for many more teams fighting for the additional wild-card spot and two extra teams would be involved in the playoffs. Those play-in games would be dramatic."

Major League Baseball added a wild-card playoff team in 1994, which advanced to the division series. In 2012, a second wild-card playoff team was added to the postseason mix, the result a winner-moves-on, play-in game between the two wild-card holders.

Last season, the Red Wings qualified for the postseason with 93 points, finishing third in the Atlantic Division. The Boston Bruins ended with 93 points, as well, but missed out on the playoffs thanks to one fewer regulation and overtime win.

The New York Islanders took the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, with 100 points, and the Philadelphia Flyers the second with 96 points. If Holland had his way, the Islanders would have been guaranteed a seven-game series after 82 games, while Boston and Philadelphia would have contested a one-game showdown for the right to move on.

There's little doubting Holland's statement about drama to begin the second - and most important - season. Everyone loves a Game 7, and in Holland's world, the Stanley Cup Playoffs would begin, essentially, with two of them.

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