Another NHL season has come to an end and this might be the stupidest postseason yet in the Eastern Conference.
This year, the Florida Panthers will be the third seed in the Eastern Conference despite being a thoroughly sub-mediocre hockey team. This is not in any way a revelatory statement. Anyone that watched this squad slump its way into the playoffs over the past few weeks will have seen just how easy it was to make it in the Southeast Division this year, with disappointing Washington making little effort to prevent the abominable teams usually littering its awful division from making it. If nothing else, you could always count on Alex Ovechkin and Co. to do that for you.
What you may not know about the Florida Panthers, though, is that not only are they not a good team, they are quite literally the worst team since the lockout — i.e. when we got the shootout and all that bad stuff — to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs. How much worse are they? They finished the season with just 38 wins, for one thing. They lost more games than they won despite playing in probably the worst division in the league. No team has even made the playoffs winning that few games since the institution of the shootout, though Montreal and Boston had 39 each in 2010.
And prior to this year, no team has locked up a top-three seed as a division winner with fewer than 43. Florida and Phoenix (42) both got in under that particularly low limbo bar this season.