I'm really not sorry.
I was going to write a nice long piece about the 2nd round playoffs of the USPHL Premier league with highlights and such, but the more I look into how the league and their playoff structure is setup, the more aggravating and confusing everything gets. (My therapist says I need to work on developing patience...pshh)
First, before I even hit the playoffs, how does the Metro Jets have their "feeder" team, the MJDP play in the same division as them?? While it's awesome that they are able to have a great organization and structure in place to field two junior teams, how does the USPHL allow them to BOTH be in the same division and league? Hell, there's one player that played 20+ games for both teams this season. I'm all for programs having feeder teams, but the same division, and the ability to have the kids bounce between teams, give me a break! Not only that, but they have coaches working for both teams.
Sure, the MJDP got bounced by the Pittsburgh Vengeance in this last round, there wasn't any roster moves from one team to the other during playoffs, and MJDP actually had a great season (kudos to those kids), but that's like Gary Bettman allowing the Chicago Blackhawks be in the same division as their farm team, the Rockford Ice Hogs (if you follow Chicago hockey, right now, I'm a little worried on who would actually win that one).
Now one may say, "but the Cougars, Wisconsin Rapid River Kings and the Dells Ducks are all owned by the same group of people" and you would be correct sir/madam. But they aren't just sharing players or calling them up to a superior squad (they did make minor trades between themselves maybe twice). The Cougars are even in a completely different division and all three teams operate as separate entities with their own coaching staff, while the Metro Jets and MJDP share staff.
To me the USPHL and the Metro Jets organization need to figure something out. Obviously the MJDP can handle it's own in the Premier league. With the Metro Jets just dominating this season, maybe it's time to look to jump the main squad to another league such as the NAHL. While I realize that would involve joining USA hockey, getting approved by the NAHL (there is no Michigan team in the NAHL which is a plus and you only have to worry about the US NTDP from the USHL), and going from pay to play to giving scholarships, it looks like this could be a possible option for a organization that clearly is doing things right for player development and team success.
The next big deal is, how does the league end up with 16 teams in the "Premier's National Pools" yet they only had 12 series in the 2nd round. For you non-math whizzes out there, that means only 12 teams won in the 2nd round to move on, so where do the other 4 teams come from?
The South East Division basically has one round (which is odd considering they have 6 teams like a few other divisions that play multiple rounds), and then their top teams, the Charlotte Rush and Hampton Roads Whalers advance to the "Nationals" so now we are at 14 teams.
The Florida Eels get an automatic bye straight to "Nationals", the DME Swamp Rabbits who had the top record in the division aren't even listed as attending (why, I guess I must have missed the memo on this) and the Florida Junior Blades with a 10-31 record get to skip the 2nd round and go straight to Nationals. So right there that's your final 2 teams to make it a 16 team pool play.
What really sucks is you've got teams like the Minnesota Blue Ox, Minnesota Moose (come on guys, get some more original names, might as well be Team A or Opponents) and New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs who have already played 6 games the past two weeks. They get to come in against teams like Charlotte Rush, Hampton Roads Whalers, and both Florida clubs who haven't played a game in a week's
Talk about hoping your team is fresh and ready to go.
While its great that pretty much the top two teams from each division get sent to "Nationals", there's just too much chaos in all of this, some unfairness, and overall it's just a mess.
But I do have a solution! Though, you'll have to wait till the next blog.....