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Ovechkin questions NHL's playoff format: 'It’s kind of weird'

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It's easy to raise questions after how the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs went down, but Alex Ovechkin certainly isn't a fan of the NHL's current playoff format.

"You win Presidents' Trophy, but you see schedule in the playoffs is kind of weird," Ovechkin told CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Tarik El-Bashir. "Because you play first team in fourth, then you play against Pittsburgh, not like Islanders or different teams play against each other and you think why do you need to win the Presidents' Trophy to play against best team?

"It’s kind of weird, but nothing you can do, it’s over, it’s past, now we looking forward."

As a refresher, upon realigning the divisions prior to the 2013-14 season, the league decided to bring back a version of the old divisional playoff format wherein the team with the most points doesn't necessarily face the weakest competition in the conference en route to the third round, but rather the team from within the division that also advances past round one.

So, for example, the Washington Capitals were forced to face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round, even though the teams finished first and second in the conference, respectively.

Under the old system, the Capitals would have played the Detroit Red Wings in the opening round, followed by the team with the lowest points that happened to advance to the second round, thereby setting up a potential meeting with the Penguins in the Conference Finals.

There's no guarantee anything would have been different for the Presidents' Trophy winners, but the Capitals should have been one of the final four teams standing, at the very least. Instead, Washington was eliminated by Pittsburgh, who went on to win the Cup.

Maybe don't try as hard in the regular season this time around.

- with H/T to Russian Machine Never Breaks

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