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The Sin Bin


January 21, 2010 10:36 AM

Changes coming to the 'Final Five'?

Todd D. Milewski looks at the Final Five and what might happen next season. I don't mind the idea of keeping the tourney at five games, albeit now there will probably be two games on Thursday and only one on Saturday. I am also would not be opposed to the WCHA deciding to go ahead and making the it a Final Six or Super Six (6 teams, 6 games), this would allow them to play two games each day. Money drives college hockey and the league could make a little extra money for its member schools. Of course some of the teams wouldn't want to play a third place game. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

It appears that the postseason will include all 12 teams once the WCHA expands to include Bemidji State and Nebraska-Omaha next season.

That would push six teams to the league's playoff championship and require a reformatting of the three-day tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. Currently, the Final Five includes five games -- a play-in contest Thursday night, two semifinals on Friday, a third-place game Saturday afternoon and the title game Saturday night.

The leading thought out of the meeting, the source said, was that the league could still use the Final Five title with a simple redefinition -- five games, instead of five teams.

The third-place game has long been a source of contention in the league. While that game can be important -- winning the 2006 version gave Wisconsin the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament over Minnesota, which it defeated -- it also has been detrimental to some.

In 17 years of the Final Five, the consolation game loser has made the NCAA tournament 10 times. Seven times -- including the last four years -- that team has lost its first NCAA game. The third-place game is important to the league's coffers however, because it is a separate ticket that provides revenue, and therefore the league is reluctant to give it up.

Having six teams involved would allow the WCHA to keep a five-game format -- two play-in games Thursday involving the teams seeded third through sixth, two semifinals Friday and the championship game Saturday -- and please a vocal group of coaches by dumping the consolation game. [Read the rest of the article]:

With the Final Five now becoming the Final six it's time to kill the Minnesota rule, enough is enough. The Final Five is in the Gophers back yard and if they can't take time off from work or school to see their favorite team play in the afternoon game that their tough luck. Last year proved that even with the Gophers only playing one game the tourney was attended well. I also believe that the "Minnesota Rule" is an unfair advantage; a team should play where they're supposed to play. If the Golden Boys are supposed to play in the 2:00 pm game than I like other fans feel that is where they should play.
-- Whether Minnesota would automatically be assigned to the night game on Thursday and Friday (if it is still alive in the tournament) to maximize local ticket sales. The so-called "Minnesota rule" currently sets the Gophers up with the prime-time semifinal spot, even if it causes the Thursday night winner to play Friday afternoon

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