NHL Realignment Project – Week 51
• Rivalries — Like I mentioned earlier in this post, with reader inputs I’ve done my best work so far in keeping most of the major rivalries together. The more obvious ones are all here, of course, but even the “secondary” ones like the Sabres and the Leafs have been maintained where possible. Some of the Howe Conference teams could evolve into good rivalries too, like Dallas and Nashville. And to all you who constantly complain that the PHI/NYR rivalry is more important than the PIT/PHI rivalry—once again, the Broadway Blueshirts and the Broad Street Bullies and kept together. Oh, and Detroit and Colorado are together now… you’re welcome.
• Travel — Four conferences cut down on travel for the teams that currently have the heaviest burden (mainly Dallas, Winnipeg, Minnesota). Some of the teams with the light travel burdens right now add a little more (looking at you Lemieux Conference), but are still in much better shape than the frequent-flier champs out west. The only teams that have to got beyond one additional time zone for any in-conference game are the aforementioned Red Wings and Avalanche… and just to play each other. With that hatred, they won’t mind a bit.
• Heritage — The conferences are named for some of the greats from the history of the game. Only issue with this is having only four will spark countless debate on the choices (where are Richard, Kennedy Plante, Hull, Bossy, Smith, Lafleur, etc.)
• Erin Andrews — With both her faves in one conference (The Lightning and the Rangers), we can only expect more tweets, mentions and other additional exposure to the Queen of All Media (Oprah retired). I welcome all of it.
Each team plays:
– against its seven conference-mates twice at home and twice on the road each:
4 games x 7 teams = 28 games
– against the teams in the other conferences once at home and once on the road:
2 games x 24 teams = 48 games
– half of each conference pair up and play an additional home-and-home series (switch the pairings each season):
2 games x 3 teams = 6 games
28 + 48 + 6 = 82 game season
• Top four teams from each conference qualify for a “final four” style tournament. All series are best of seven.
• Round 1: Conference Semifinals (1 seed vs. 4 seed; 2 vs. 3 (based on overall record))
• Round 2: Conference Finals (first round winners play each other)
• Round 3: Stanley Cup Semifinals (best overall record of remaining teams picks it’s opponent for this round)
• Round 4: Stanley Cup Finals
As always, thanks for reading, and don’t forget to use the sharing buttons to spread the word and wish me luck on my impending fatherhood in February.