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Ice Chips

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CHL will re-seed in playoffs

Ben Smith and I caused quite the little stir last week when we asked Central Hockey League commissioner Duane Lewis why there would be no re-seeding in the playoffs.

There was quite a bit of confusion from the CHL-IHL collective, which both didn't know what re-seeding means and that its initial playoff format press release said it wouldn't do so, sticking to a straight bracket format.

Confused? Think of this hypothetical situation: In the first round of the conference playoffs, the No. 8 seed beats the No. 1 seed, and then the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 seeds all win their series. Then what happens?

If the league does indeed re-seed, then No. 2 becomes 1, 3 becomes 2, 4 becomes 3 and 8 becomes 4, thus ensuring that the best team from the regular season always plays the worst team.

In a straight bracket format, which the CHL initially stated it was using, then 8 would play 4 and the second-seeded team gets peeved because it has a tougher second-round opponent (the third-seeded team) than the team that barely squeaked into the playoffs in the first place.

I should teach a course on this.

Anyway, Lewis has reached out to me to confirm that the CHL's press release was incorrect -- sorry, Bob Hoffman -- and that the league will re-seed. The team that entered the playoffs with the lowest seed will always play the team with the highest seed, as it should be in everything that isn't the NCAA basketball tournament.

"I am sure this is more palatable with fans who thought the 'bracket' way," Lewis said, "as

the lowest seeded teams have the toughest trek through the playoffs."

Just watch, eventually, this will mean the difference between a 120-mile and a 3,000-mile trek in the second round of the playoffs.

Justin A. Cohn, pro sports coordinator for The Journal Gazette, has been covering the Fort Wayne Komets since 1997. His reporting includes game stories from home and away, features about the players and personalities associated with the Komets, plus coverage of issues affecting hockey at all levels. A native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Cohn graduated from Emory University in Atlanta. He can be reached at 260-461-8429 or by email at jcohn@jg.net.

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