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Crosby prefers 1-8 playoff format: 'Teams should be rewarded'

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Count Sidney Crosby among the many who prefer the NHL's old postseason format.

The Pittsburgh Penguins captain said he favors the 1-to-8 conference playoff seeding to the current divisional bracket setup.

"I like 1-to-8 just because I think the regular season is as difficult as it is; teams should be rewarded," he told reporters Friday. "That's probably the best way to be rewarded, even though there isn't a ton of difference. I like that version a little bit better."

Under the NHL's current playoff format - which was adopted ahead of the 2013-14 campaign - the top three teams from each division plus two wild cards from each conference make the playoffs. The top team in each division faces a wild-card entry in Round 1, while the No. 2 and 3 divisional seeds square off against each other. There's no reseeding.

Before 2013-14, the top eight teams from each conference would make the playoffs, with division winners grabbing the top three seeds. The No. 1 seed would play the No. 8 seed, and the rest would follow suit. Teams would reseed after the first round.

The current format has drawn plenty of scrutiny, particularly due to the possibility of pitting two of the league's top teams against each other in Round 1 and the potential for a lack of playoff-position jostling.

For example, with the Boston Bruins running away with the Atlantic and there being a large gap between the division's No. 3 and 4 seeds, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning can pretty much punch their tickets to face each other in Round 1.

The Leafs and Lightning also make up two of the top five teams in the NHL. However, due to all top-five teams hailing from the Eastern Conference, Toronto and Tampa would currently be pitted against each other in Round 1 under the old format as things currently stand using points percentage. But under the old format, they may have matched up with other teams by the time the playoffs come around.

Crosby's Penguins, meanwhile, would currently face the Carolina Hurricanes in Round 1, regardless of the format, by using points percentage.

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