Tuesday, December 06, 2011

NHL Realignment

I am not sure what to make of the re-alignment of the NHL.   The divisions within the conferences have been rather irrelevant for some time so getting rid of them makes some sense.

The move of the franchise from Atlanta to Winnipeg meant that some changes were going to have to happen.  

Conference "A" (8 teams - 3 Canadian)

  • Anaheim (Pacific)
  • Calgary (Northwest)
  • Colorado (Northwest)
  • Edmonton (Northwest)
  • Los Angeles (Pacific)
  • Phoenix (Pacific)
  • San Jose (Pacific)
  • Vancouver (Northwest)

As a Vancouver fan, I like this change as it keeps all the teams I like to see the Canucks play and will reduce their travel.   What I do not like is that only four of the eight teams makes the playoffs.

Conference "B" (8 teams - 1 Canadian)

  • Chicago (Central)
  • Columbus (Central)
  • Dallas (Pacific)
  • Detroit (Central)
  • Minnesota (Northwest)
  • Nashville (Central)
  • St. Louis (Central)
  • Winnipeg (Southeast)

I think conference "B" makes a lot more sense, this is a dramatic improvement.

Conference "C" (7 teams - 3 Canadian)

  • Boston (Northeast)
  • Buffalo (Northeast)
  • Florida (Southeast)
  • Montreal (Northeast)
  • Ottawa (Northeast)
  • Tampa Bay (Southeast)
  • Toronto (Northeast)

The addition of Florida and Tampa to this conference says to me the NHL does not expect the teams to survive in those markets and that we are more than likely to see a team in Hamilton and Quebec within a couple of years.  The ongoing strength of the Canadian dollar, and the likelihood that it will continue to be strong for at least a decade or two more, means a return to Canada makes a lot of sense.

Frankly a smart NHL would push for a second team in Toronto ASAP.

Also, with four of seven teams making the playoffs, it will be a very rare year not to see a Canadian team in the playoffs.

Conference "D" (7 teams)

  • Carolina (Southeast)
  • New Jersey (Atlantic)
  • New York Islanders (Atlantic)
  • New York Rangers (Atlantic)
  • Philadelphia (Atlantic)
  • Pittsburgh (Atlantic)
  • Washington (Southeast)

This is the conference with the shortest travel schedule

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