NHL Realignment Project – Week 21

NHL Realignment Project - Wek 21

Pod Casting – There’s No Place Like Home (and Away)

This week we go to pods for the NHL Realignment Project. The addition of the Seattle Shamrocks and the Quebec Nordiques gets our league’s team count up to (our favorite very divisible number,) 32. In an effort to not only divide the teams up the best, but also put forth a reasonable schedule we’ve opted for breakdown of 2 Conferences each with 4 Divisions which in turn each have a North and South Pod.

We’re going with geographic Conference names and honorific Division names and geographic Pod names. Your purpose as an NHL team in this version of the league is to end up in the top-two positions of your Pod to qualify for the playoffs.

Playoffs would thus continue to be 16 teams and go four rounds, but the rounds would be:

1st round: Pod Championship Series

2nd round: Division Championship Series

3rd round: Conference Championship Series

4th round: Stanley Cup Finals Series

Let’s get to the map:

NHL Realignment Map Week 21

NHL Realignment Map Week 21

 

The Breakdown:

Eastern Conference

– Orr Division

  • North: Boston, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec
  • South: Buffalo, Detroit, New York Rangers, Toronto

– Lemieux Division

  • North: New Jersey, New York Islanders, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
  • South: Carolina, Florida, Tampa Bay, Washington

Western Conference

– Hull Division

  • North: Chicago, Columbus, Minnesota, Winnipeg
  • South: Colorado, Dallas, Nashville, St. Louis

– Gretzky Division

  • North: Calgary, Edmonton, Seattle, Vancouver
  • South: Anaheim, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose

 

Gained teams:

Quebec, Seattle

Lost teams:

None

 

The Benefits:

• Organization — With the magic number of 32 teams, we have more options of dividing teams up… but in addition to that, with divisions AND pods, we now have a system that let’s tighter geographic rivalries flourish and cuts down on the number of times teams have to travel to non-divisional foes. How, you say?…

• Scheduling — Everything in-Division (and thusly, in-Pod) would be based on home-and-away series. Each non-Divisional opponent would be played once at home and once on the road, but not necessarily in the back-to-back format that is generally associated with home-and-home series. Sooooo…

  • Each team would play its three Pod-mates in 3 home-and-home series — 6 games x 3 opponents = 18 games.
  • Additionally, each team would play its four (non-Pod) Division-mates in 2 home-and-home series — 4 games x 4 opponents = 16 games.
  • Finally, each non-Division opponent would be played in 2 games (home and away) — 2 games x 24 opponents = 48 games.

• Records — Since we’ve been able to keep an 82-game schedule (18+16+48=82), records that are already on the books and players current and future attempts to break them are on the same level playing field.

• Rivalries — I’ve done my best to keep as many traditional rivalries intact inside of pods or at least in division (the biggest failure in this regard was breaking up the NYC-area teams… but I’ll try another pod breakdown to keep some/all of them together.

(H/T to oilersnation.com for the original map)

 

See you next week (gonna try to post every Sunday moving forward, so put it on your calendar)!

— TF

Make sure to check out the entire NHL Realignment Project ».

NHL Realignment Project – Week 20

NHL Realignment Project - Week 20

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto

With all the recent talk of NHL Realignment, it’s apparent that it’s a very emotional subject. “It’d be an insult if…”, “How dare they consider the possibility of…”, “If they do that, I swear I’ll…” So this week on the NHL Realignment Project, we take emotion out of the equation and ask ourselves, “WWJD?”… What Would Joshua Do? (For you younglings out there Joshua was the computer program from the 1983 classic motion picture, WarGames… but if that’s too “old and dumb” for you, feel free to swap Joshua out for Iron Man‘s Jarvis… cool?).

Anyhow, the idea is, if a computer program were tasked with dividing the current NHL into six divisions, it would of course plot the centerpoints of all 30 teams on the map and draw a line down the map  that’d leave us with 15 teams on either side of the line… Joshua/Jarvis would designate that line “CDL” for “Central Dividing Line”. Joshua/Jarvis would then (very clinically) slide a line east from the CDL and west from the CDL and create a new divider as each time said line crosses five teams’ centerpoints.

Joshua/Jarvis would name the divisions E1, E2, E3 and W1, W2, W3 with numerals ascending as we travel further East or West of the CDL.

No emotion, no bickering, no pesky honorific division names. Just results.

So here is the map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 20

NHL Realignment Map – Week 20

The Breakdown:

W/W1: Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis

W/W2: Calgary, Colorado, Dallas, Edmonton, Winnipeg

W/W3: Anaheim, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver

E/E1: Buffalo, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Toronto

E/E3: Boston, Montreal, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Washington

E/E2: Carolina, Florida, New Jersey, Ottawa, Philadelphia


Gained teams:

None

Lost teams:

None

 

The Benefits:

• Our mechanical overlords have spoken — Benefits should be obvious. Questioning anything shall result in termination.

 

(H/T to oilersnation.com for the original map)

 

See you next week!

— TF

Make sure to check out the entire NHL Realignment Project ».

NHL Realignment Project – Week 18

NHL Realignment Project - Week 18

Champions League Plus

Expanding on the idea that started two week ago, this week we’re expanding by six teams (à la 1967). The six teams we’ve allowed into our “Champions League” are the teams that have be able to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, but haven’t won. They’ve earned their stripes, and now have the chance to make that final step.

We’re a 24-team league in this format, and we’ve divided them into four conferences, each of which fill out a playoff bracket with their top four teams. Playoffs involve the four teams deciding a Conference Champion which lead to a “final four” that reseed to determine semi-final opponents… best record plays fourth best… second best record plays third best.

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 18

NHL Realignment Map - Week 18

 

The Breakdown:

Gretzky Conference: Anaheim, Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Vancouver

Hull Conference: Carolina, Dallas, Florida, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Washington

Howe Conference: Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Toronto

Orr Conference: Boston, Montreal, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia

 

Gained teams:

None

Lost teams:

San Jose, Phoenix, Winnipeg, Minnesota, Columbus, Nashville

 

The Benefits:

• Talent — While we’re not cutting 40% of the teams out of the NHL like the last two weeks, we are still doing some significant chopping. Teams will have plenty of talent to choose from to replace their lesser players with guys from the six shuttered franchises.

• Amazingly Finals — Making the playoffs reseed for the semi-finals, should (more often than not) yield a better Finals matchup. No more “the last round help better matchups than the Finals” talk.

• Tradition — When the league is made up of only teams that have won it all or made it to the Finals, tradition is pretty much built in.

 

(H/T to oilersnation.com for the original map)

 

See you next week!

— TF

Make sure to check out the entire NHL Realignment Project ».

NHL Realignment Project – Week 17

NHL Realignment Project - Week 17

Champions League (Version 2)

As some of you geniuses may have figured out by the title of last week’s post, we are doing a variation this week instead of a full-on new idea. Things are super-busy at work right now, and this is the way we’re gonna go. Gotta pay the bills… what can you do?

So this week, our league, comprised of only Stanley Cup Winning teams, is divided by a horizontal demarcation line. Orr to the north and Howe to the south. It seems a little more fair than last week’s option since there is at least a little less travel discrepancy between the two conferences.

NHL Realignment Map - Week 17

NHL Realignment Map - Week 17

 

The Breakdown:

Howe Conference: Anaheim, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh

Orr Conference: Boston, Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Toronto

 

Gained teams:

None

Lost teams:

Vancouver, San Jose, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Winnipeg, Minnesota, St. Louis, Buffalo, Columbus, Nashville, Florida, Washington

 

The Benefits:

• Talent — Whoa nelly! My math may be off, but wouldn’t cutting 40% of the teams out of the NHL mean we’d be leaving the bottom 40% of the talent out of the league too? It’d be like my fantasy league (speaking of, we’re desperate for people to join). Basically we’d have an All-Star Game level of talent, but with checks.

• Amazingly Historical Match-ups in the Stanley Cup Finals (potentially) — Lots of potential for old school finals. Lots and lots of potential for never-before-seen finals matchups. Lots of potential for Canadian teams to be in the finals.

• Tradition — When the league is made up of only teams that have won it all, tradition is pretty much built in (*cough cough* tampadallascarolinaanaheim? *cough*)

 

(H/T to oilersnation.com for the original map)

 

Check back next week for a bigger vision of this concept!

— TF

Make sure to check out the entire NHL Realignment Project ».

NHL Realignment Project – Week 16

NHL Realignment Project - Week 16
Champions League (Version 1)

Just like, last week, we’re gonna go into contraction mode again. But we’re pushing it much further this time. In this, the sixteenth week of the NHL Realignment Project, we’re going to contract the NHL to only the current teams that have already won the Stanley Cup (yes, I know the NHL doesn’t recognize the current Ottawa Senators to be the same as the original, actually-has-won-the-cup team, but I wanted to make it an even split, so I let it slide). That leaves us with eighteen teams. So does that mean all but two teams in the league make the playoffs? My answer to that riddle is a very scientific and well thought out one: “Sure, why not?”

Here’s the map with the divisional breakdown (2 Conferences, no divisions):

NHL Realignment Map - Week 16

NHL Realignment Map - Week 16

The Breakdown:

Gretzky Conference: Anaheim, Calgary, Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Pittsburgh, Toronto

Orr Conference: Boston, Carolina, Montreal, Ottawa, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay

 

Gained teams:

None

Lost teams:

Vancouver, San Jose, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Winnipeg, Minnesota, St. Louis, Buffalo, Columbus, Nashville, Florida, Washington

 

The Benefits:

• Talent — Whoa nelly! My math may be off, but wouldn’t cutting 40% of the teams out of the NHL mean we’d be leaving the bottom 40% of the talent out of the league too? It’d be like my fantasy league (speaking of, we’re desperate for people to join). Basically we’d have an All-Star Game level of talent, but with checks.

• Amazingly Historical Match-ups in the Stanley Cup Finals (potentially) — The Original Six Teams have been divided evenly between the two Conferences. So lots of potential for old school finals. Not to mention the potential for a Pittsburgh/Philadelphia final. I don’t know if Pennsylvania would survive that, actually.

• Tradition — When the league is made up of only teams that have won it all, tradition is pretty much built in (*cough cough* tampadallascarolinaanaheim? *cough*)

 

(H/T to oilersnation.com for the original map)

 

Check back for version 2 of this concept next week!

— TF

Make sure to check out the entire NHL Realignment Project ».


NHL Realignment Project – Week 12

 

NHL Realignment Project Week 12

Week 12 – Are you ready for some football hockey? (The NFL Map)

Just like last week, we’re taking our NHL realignment inspiration from another league. Since it’s the most successful sports league in North America, maybe copying the NFL ain’t too bad an idea. So we divide our NHL into two conferences (Campbell and Wales) each of which is divided into North, South, East and West divisions. Unlike last week, I’ve taken a little more care to keep/create some good rivalries with the new conference/division breakdown… couldn’t get the Pens/Flyers rivalry to work out (sorry, Pennsylvania).

Overall, this works better than the MLB version… and surprisingly, works pretty well in general.

NHL Realignment Map Week Twelve

NHL Realignment Map Week-Twelve

 

Gained teams:

Seattle, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Quebec City

Lost teams:

Phoenix, New York Islanders

Benefits:

• Travel — Reasonably even travel across the league.

• Rivalries — Each of the four-team divisions is made up of two rivalry pairs. As stated earlier, the Pennsylvania pair got lost, but other than that, we’ve got a good mix of traditional hatred and/or geographic proximity throughout the league to keep things interesting. Heck, the Pittsburgh-Detroit and Philadelphia-Washington pairings are pretty damn decent replacements for the Pens-Flyers loss.

 

(H/T to oilersnation.com for the original map)

 

See everyone next week!

— TF

Make sure to check out the entire NHL Realignment Project ».

NHL Realignment Project – Week 10

 

NHL Realignment Project Week 10

Week 10 – A Long Trip Leads to Rivalry Overdose

Couple the New York Islanders continuing drop from legendary, elite team of the past to neglected, passed-by team of the present, with their failure to get a new arena financed, I thinks its time to add the four-time champ to the relocation/realignment mix. Before everyone gets their britches in a bind, yes, I understand that it’s more of an “willingness of the owner” issue, but to counter that argument, I present exhibit A: The Atlanta Thrashers.

So, this week in my fantasy world, I’ve pulled the (for all intents and purposes) arena-less Islanders and taken them all the way across the country to Portland, Oregon. Portland has a more-than-ready area and minimal competition from other sports (the NBA’s Trailblazers and the MLS’s Timbers). In my Foolish Hockey World, teams that leave their current media market, don’t take the franchises history and records with them… so the four Stanley Cup banners stay on Long Island… waiting for a new team to appear (relocate to Long Island and reclaim that glory).

The new-look 30-team NHL looks like this:

NHL Realignment Map Week 10

NHL Realignment Map-Week Ten

 

Gained teams:

Portland

Lost teams:

New York Islanders

Benefits:

• Arena-ready — Portland’s Rose Garden was built in the 1990s and holds 17,000+ for hockey.

• Conference Balance Each conference has 15 teams (but divisions still have a bit of an imbalance (7 teams or 8 teams).

• New York Eyeballs — With the Rangers and Devils being more successful than the Islanders for the last few decades, the fans in the NYC metro area have leaned away from the Islanders lately. There was already a debate when the Devils came to town that three was too many, but it looks as if the Devils ended up winning the hearts-and-minds tug-of-war to be “The Other NYC Franchise”.

•  Travel Balance — This new alignment has caused several teams (Dallas, Detroit, Columbus) to have to travel less than they currently do for intra-division (and especially in-conference for the Wings and Jackets) games. Conversely it has caused more teams in the East to travel a little more. Sorry, East, but its time to pony up a little bit in the interest of balance.

• Revamped Scheduling/Rivalries — So in an interest to make up for the fact that the Habs/Bruins and Pens/Flyers divisional rivalries, I’ve devised a new scheduling format to allow for TONS of extra games against a traditional rival (kind of a super-charged version of what they do in the Big Ten Conference in football).

– One home-and-away match-up against everyone in the league – 58 games

– One extra home-and-away match-up against every one of the other teams within your division – 14 or 12 games (depending on your division size)… This brings us to 70 or 72 games

– Every team would play 2 more home-and-away series against 2 out-of-conference opponents. The three opponents would rotate out every year (you’d cycle through the 16 teams every 8 years) – 4 games… Bringing us to 74 or 76 games.

– The teams in the 7-team North Division play one extra home-and-away series with one of the other teams the 7-team Central Division. This would be on a rotating basis, so that every seven years it resets… This brings everyone up to 76 games.

– Every team then pairs up with one in-conference arch-rival (e.g. Boston-Montreal, Pittsburgh-Philadelphia) for yet three more home-and-away match-ups. This pairing would be permanent – 6 games… Bringing everyone up to 82 games.

 

(H/T to oilersnation.com for the original map)

 

See everyone next week!

— TF

Make sure to check out the entire NHL Realignment Project ».