Saturday, June 25, 2011

NHL Realignment: Just Cut Out Conferences

The buzz around the NHL is that they are looking at major realignment. The NHL has a lot of problems with their current alignment -- Dallas is in the Pacific, Winnipeg is in the Southeast, Columbus is in the Eastern Time Zone yet in the Western Conference, Detroit is in the opposite conference as Toronto.

The rumored route is that the NHL is going to shave down from six divisions to four. Two divisions will have 8 teams and two will have 7. The problem is that it is still so difficult to figure out where to make these divisional breaks in a four division system (it can be done, but it could look a bit ugly).

So here is my proposal: just kill off the conferences and just have FIVE divisions? We don't need conferences at all. We really don't. We can just have the top three teams in each of the five divisions in the playoffs as well as the fourth place team with the best record.

Boston Bruins
Buffalo Sabres
Detroit Red Wings
Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators
Toronto Maple Leafs

New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
Philadelphia Flyers
Pittsburgh Penguins
Washington Capitals

Carolina Hurricanes
Chicago Blackhawks
Columbus Blue Jackets
Florida Panthers
Nashville Predators
Tampa Bay Lightning

Colorado Avalanche
Dallas Stars
Minnesota Wild
Phoenix Coyotes
St. Louis Blues
Winnipeg Jets

Anaheim Ducks
Calgary Flames
Edmonton Oilers
Los Angeles Kings
San Jose Sharks
Vancouver Canucks

I know that's completely hard for most people to comprehend. No conferences? But how do the playoffs work. Easily, just rank each team from No. 1 thru No. 16 and go at it. Sure, you may have a San Jose-Tampa Bay first round series ... but who cares? If need be, make those kind of cross-country series a 2-3-2 format or something.

If it is two wild for you, here ya go with what the NHL will probably do:

NORTH: Boston, Buffalo, Montreal, New Jersey, NY Isles, NY Rangers, Ottawa, Toronto
SOUTH: Carolina, Detroit, Florida, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington
MIDWEST: Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, St Louis, Winnipeg
PACIFIC: Anaheim, Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver

Maybe the NHL will have one conference have 16 teams and the other have 14 (if so, expect Columbus to move to the South Division and Colorado moves to the Midwest). To me, I'd just eliminate the geographic names and go back to the Adams, Patrick, Norris and Smythe names of yesteryear.

1 comment:

Jocohoblue said...

I've been advocating eliminating conferences since they changed the All-Star Game, but I've always thought about using 4 divisions. I actually like your 5 division idea better, but I would suggest one tweak. Change the Cental to Winnipeg, Minnesota, Chicago, Columbus, Colorado, and St. Louis and make the other one the South with Dallas, Phoenix, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Florida, and Nashville. Phoenix will have some long trips, but they'll be movin soon and this allow the old Norris cities (other than the Wings) to stick together. - Wings Fan