How to……

Create AHL playoffs by Allen Bellehumeur

I’d first off like to let everybody know that this feature is just for fun, and that it really has no affect whatsoever developmentally on the players involved in the AHL playoffs.

If you are trying to start AHL playoffs in an already ongoing season, that is fine, but please start with step a) and move on from there. If you are interested in just testing out the AHL playoffs or if you have already passed the start of the playoffs in your ongoing league, start with step b).

a) Get to the playoffs in your ongoing season, and save the game on April 9th, 2xxx. The year need not matter, just make sure the date is correct. Then save the game again, but under a different name (ie: AHL), so that you have two leagues going simultaneously.

b) Open a new league, and simulate to the end of the regular season. This will have no bearing on anything, it is just to get you to the correct date in which the playoffs must be played. Make sure you save this season on April 9th as well.

Once at this date, you must take a look at the AHL regular season standings, and determine who must play who in the first round of the playoffs. It is easiest to do this if you just relate the AHL team with its corresponding NHL team.

For example, if the Hershey Bears are first in the AHL, their corresponding NHL team is Colorado, and therefore they would become the first seeded team in the Western Conference because of the Affiliation with Colorado.

So far, not too bad right? Well that was the easy part. Once you’ve discovered who must play who, you must then create the games for the first round. To do this, you must exit your game (make sure it is saved!) and open up the Schedule.ehm file located in the corresponding league folder. It is much better to have taken my advice and created a new league called AHL (or the like), because if you haven’t, you will mess up your original league.

In the file you will see a large mess of numbers. I will break down the important ones for you here:

1- 4 10 2002 25 8 1 1

2- 2 4

3- 5 10 2002 3 16 1 1

4- 4 1

5- 5 10 2002 4 11 1 1

6- 5 2

This is a selection just randomly selected from the file. I will explain later how the file is sorted.

Line 1,3, and 5 are all similar. Lines 2,4, and 6 are also all similar. These lines break down as follows:

1- Day Month Year Home team Visiting Team Unknown Unknown

2- Home Team Goals Visiting Team Goals

The two unknown numbers are also unimportant from what I gather, but are usually values between 1 and 5.

The information gathered from lines 1 and 2 above is as follows:

On October 4th, 2002, San Jose (25) hosted Colorado (8) and the final score was 4-2 in favour of Colorado.

Hopefully this is pretty clear and self explanatory. I will now attempt to explain the way this file flows. If you pay close attention to the dates, you will notice this pattern.

The first many entries are the regular season games. I have no idea how many entries there are here because they add as the seasons and games go by. Notice that if you scroll down, you will eventually hit the bottom of the regular season games and notice entries such as this one:

0 0 2003 0 0 0 0

0 0

These entries are blank spaces of games that have not yet been played, and most likely should not be tinkered with unless you wish to wish to put a game in there somewhere (but remember not to conflict dates with a team playing already on that day).

If you keep scrolling down, you will notice that the entries with actual values start up again; these are the playoff games. They follow the same format as before, just the dates are consistent with playoff time. If you have simmed correctly to April 9th, you will notice games that look like this:

10 6 2003 13 8 1 4

0 0

This means that the current NHL playoff games are set up, and they have not yet been played. You will have to change these games to the corresponding games you figured out earlier (which team is which seed in its respective conference). Make sure that you change the information correctly or the games will not turn out right.

For example, if you have figured out the 1st seed Hershey Bears are to play the 8th seed Cleveland Barons, you will have to change the games for 10 6 2003 to the following:

10 6 2003 8 25 1 4

0 0

That means that Hershey (using Colorado’s number because they are the corresponding NHL team) will play Cleveland in Hershey for their first game. I should mention that June 10th was chosen here because it is the first Playoff date, and the Western Conference plays first. All of the Western Conference matchups you made earlier are to be played on this day for the first game. The Eastern Conference matchups will be the 11th of April for the first game of the series.

You will then have to substitute the appropriate numbers into the rest of the games to be played for the first round. You will see only the first 4 games set to be played in this file for each series. Remember the order in which games are played in the playoffs:

Game 1: Seed 8 @ Seed 1

Game 2: Seed 8 @ Seed 1

Game 3: Seed 1 @ Seed 8

Game 4: Seed 1 @ Seed 8

Game 5: Seed 8 @ Seed 1

Game 6: Seed 1 @ Seed 8

Game 7: Seed 8 @ Seed 1

The tricky part comes here. After you have substituted all the correct numbers into the file, you will have to save the file, open up EHM, load your league (AHL or the like) and then you will see the corresponding games on the days you inputted into the schedule.ehm file. In order for this system to work, you must now go into another process: switching the pro team rosters with the farm team rosters.

The steps to this are as follows:

1) Save the farm team lineup for each team playing in the playoffs. In order for you to do this, you may want to take control of all 30 NHL teams. It will help you out and prevent waiver pickups in the next step.

2) Send all pro players from the NHL team to the AHL (don’t worry about waivers)

3) Call up all farm players from the AHL to the NHL, not including the players you just sent down.

4) Load up the lines for the farm team on the pro team roster, and make sure that all the players are available in the lineup.

You are now ready to play the games. Simulate as you normally would. But remember to save after the 4th game of the playoffs has been played, just in case you encounter the problems below.

As of right now, if you are lucky, you will be done and have a great time with the AHL playoffs. If you are not so lucky, you may encounter a few problems as I have.

Once you reach the fourth game in a series, you may encounter the problem that the 5th, 6th, and possibly 7th games don’t show up. If this is the case, make sure you have saved after that 4th game has been played, close EHM and open up the statistics.ehm file once again.

Use the search tool in notepad (or wordpad or whatever you have opened the file with), and search the last date that was played, which should be (if you followed instructions and only the 4th game is apparent) the 17th of April. You will have to type in 17 4 2003 (remember between each value is two spaces). This will bring you to the games played on this date. Scroll down a bit and you will see those empty slots which I showed you before. This is where the tough stuff comes in.

You will have to fill out these slots from scratch, with the right dates, etc. If this problem occurred to you though, you may want to stop here, because you will not only be filling out the last 3 games of the series’ in the first round, you will also be filling out every other game from then until the Stanley Cup final as well because the game will not create these games itself. This is one very bad thing about the AHL playoff idea.

If you continue on with this process, it will be long and gruelling…Just a warning! I cannot explain everything from here because it will have to come from basic knowledge of hockey and the file from here on in. You should know the format of games played in a series which I have mentioned above (Seed 8 @ Seed 1…etc.). Also, note that the highest remaining ranking team plays the remaining lowest ranking team in the 2nd round, 3rd round and Stanley Cup final in the same format. For example, if seed 6 is the lowest remaining ranking team in the 2nd round and seed 2 is the highest, the first game will still be played in seed 2’s home arena and the following games will be in the same format as above with seed 6 as seed 8 and seed 2 as seed 1. Hopefully that wasn’t too confusing for you.

If you have chosen to stick with it, you may also encounter another problem. You may see games that don’t belong there or games where a team is playing themselves (as odd as that sounds).

You will have to save the game when you see these games (so it’s worth your while to check ahead on the schedule every day to make sure you don’t encounter these). If you do, go back to the schedule.ehm file and search the date corresponding with the game that shouldn’t be there. Once you find it, just delete all the values and replace them with zero. This game will then disappear upon reloading of your league.

Note: This problem may occur several times throughout the playoff season, so BEWARE and be ready for it.