They can’t say it publicly. There’s nothing to gain. All you’d be doing is providing bulletin board material. But you’d better believe players, coaches and executives from playoff teams are looking at the standings and trying to figure out which opponents make a better first-round matchup compared to others.
One assistant general manager was chatting on Wednesday, and he ran right through the options for his playoff-bound group.
He actually liked how his team matched up with one Stanley Cup contender. He saw an average team as a real threat because of a history of failure against them. There was another rival he thought perhaps was in the heads of his players.
But yeah, he definitely had his preferences.
“You look at them and say, ‘This would be a good fit,’” he explained.
It works the opposite way, too.
There are first-round matchups that could be a complete disaster for some teams. So as the playoff teams start to get clarity while the seedings continue to move, here’s a look at the worst possible matchups for some contenders, their "Kryptonite" opponents: