Well, let's face it, the playoffs in most any sport are a straight up cash grab. Championships should be about recognizing the best team overall, not the hottest team, or the luckiest team. And the best team in most sports is the team that finishes the regular season #1. It's a much harder grind to excel over 100+ games than 7.
Eh, maybe it's less true in Hockey than say Football... but in the NFL it's not like every team plays every team... or maybe in hockey a team only plays another great team once or twice at varying points when they may or may not be as good. The playoffs sort all that out on even footing - and yes, there's money to be made there.