NHL Realignment Project – Week 32

NHL Realignment Project - Week 32

Seeking 32 (Quebec City, Portland, Kansas City, Houston)

First of all, sorry (again) for the very late post this week… Trying my best to get back on schedule, and with the bombshell today of the NHLPA forcing the NHL to drop its realignment plan, I REALLY need to get back on track as traffic is gonna pick up again on this blog. But I digress… back to the show:

With all the news, this is my last installment of the “Seeking 32” concept (for a while at least). I’ll be switching back to more viable plans since Gary B. and the Boyz™ will be Googling for solutions and land here on the site soon. So here’s the plan. Just like last week, we’re going to subdivide our 8-team conferences into two 4-team scheduling pods again. One major change from last week is the “College Football-ification” of the NHL South. Adding Houston and KC and removing Washington, has given this regional conference a very unified regional feel. The atmosphere would be great, I think. Plus, the recent sale of the Dallas Stars to Tom Gaglardi and the instant uptick in attendance proves that (with strong front-office backing (and lower ticket prices)) hockey can flourish in Big12/SEC country.

On another fun note, DC and Ottawa could become an interesting conference rivalry the two capital cities going at it six times per year would be cool.

 

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 32

NHL Realignment Map - Week 32

 

The Breakdown:

Again, our conferences all have eight teams… but each is made up of 2 pods of four teams (pods are only for scheduling reasons). Conferences are named for the four cardinal directions: West, South, East, North.

NHL West NHL South NHL East NHL North
1. Anaheim Ducks 1. Dallas Stars 1. New Jersey Devils 1. Chicago Blackhawks
2. Colorado Avalanche 2. Houston Aeros 2. New York Rangers 2. Detroit Red Wings
3. Los Angeles Kings 3. Kansas City Scouts 3. Philadelphia Flyers 3. Minnesota Wild
4. San Jose Sharks 4. St. Louis Blues 4. Pittsburgh Penguins 4. Winnipeg Jets
5. Calgary Flames 5. Carolina Hurricanes 5. Boston Bruins 5. Buffalo Sabres
6. Edmonton Oilers 6. Florida Panthers 6. Montreal Canadiens 6. Ottawa Senators
7. Portland Eagles 7. Nashville Predators 7. New York Islanders 7. Toronto Maple Leafs
8. Vancouver Canucks 8. Tampa Bay Lightning 8. Quebec Nordiques 8. Washington Capitals

 

Gained teams:

Quebec City, Houston, Portland, Kansas City

 

Lost teams:

Phoenix, Columbus

 

The Benefits:

• Scheduling — We’ve finally cracked the code for scheduling… the scheduling pods made all the difference. See the “scheduling” section a little below for the deets.

• Fairness — Unlike the  NHLPA, I don’t subscribe to the “the teams in the 7-team conferences have are more likely to make the playoffs” argument (listen, you are more likely to qualify for the post-season in an awful 8-team conference than a really competitive 7-team conference), this evening up of the conferences nullifies the argument altogether. (Again, for an excellent analysis on this whole argument, check out Bjorn Mikkelsen’s Blog).

• Something Closer to Travel Equity — Unlike all the efforts to minimize travel that so many have strived to achieve, we’ve actually increased travel for most teams. In an effort to create a more balanced travel schedule across the league we’ve “forced” every team to be in a conference that has a “medium-distance” travel load. The NHL West has a heavier north-and-south travel burden… while the NHL North and the NHL South have a heavier east-and-west travel burden. The East kinda escapes the heaviest of the travel, but thems-was-da-breaks in my effort to get the scheduling pods to work best and keep rivals together as best as we could.

• Rivalries —  The major rivalries preserved in Gary’s plan are still here but amplified with the scheduling pods, plus we get new DAL/HOU, KC/STL, OTT/WSH, POR/VAN a to enjoy now… not to mention the Montreal/Quebec rivalry that will be revived as well. Detroit and Chicago stay together. In the few instances where a good rivalry didn’t stay together in a pod (NYI/NYR, DET/TOR)… they are still in the same conference an so do still play each other more often than non-conference opponents. Speaking of scheduling…

 

Scheduling:

Each team plays all it’s non-conference opponents once at home and once on the road: 2 games x 24 teams = 48 games

Each team plays it’s in-pod opponents three at home and three on the road: 6 games x 3 teams = 18 games

Each team plays it’s in-conference opponents (but not in-pod) twice at home and twice on the road: 4 games x 4 teams = 16 games

48 games + 18 games + 16 games = 82 games

If they gave out Nobel Prizes for this kind of work… I’d like your support during the process. If a Nobel Prize is outta the question, I’d settle for life-time tickets to the Stanley Cup finals……….. or some backlinks.

 

Playoffs:

• Top four teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs

• Round One: Conference Semifinals — #1 vs #4 and #2 vs #3

• Round Two: Conference Finals — Semifinal winners faceoff

• Round Three: “Frozen Four” type matchup. Conference Champ with the best record chooses which opponent they will face.

• Round Four: Stanley Cup Finals

 

Just when we’d figured it all out, the NHLPA throughs a wrench into the works. Bright side? More blog traffic and TONS of ad revenue (I’m down to 11 years to go before I’ve earned enough to get my first check from Google) 🙂

 

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

 

Don’t forget to share our lil’ project with your hockey fan friends. And, as always, thanks for reading. Until next Sunday!

— TF

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


NHL Realignment Project – Week 30

NHL Realignment Project - Week 30

Seeking 32 (KC, QBC, Hamilton, Portland)

This week, we continue our effort to find the “perfect 32” homes for a slightly expanded NHL. Last week we left all current host-cities alone, just adding two new cities (Kansas City and Quebec) to bring us up to 32 teams. This week, we’re a little less nice. Gone are Phoenix and Columbus and we add two Canadian teams as well as two American teams to bring us up to the magic number. We also tweaked the layout of the four conferences a bit… making travel a little bit more equitable across the board.

 

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 30

NHL Realignment Map - Week 30

 

The Breakdown:

Again, our conferences all have eight teams. Conferences are named for the four cardinal directions: West, South, East, North.

NHL West NHL South NHL East NHL North
1. Anaheim Ducks 1. Carolina Hurricanes 1. Buffalo Sabres 1. Boston Bruins
2. Calgary Flames 2. Dallas Stars 2. Chicago Blackhawks 2. Florida Panthers
3. Colorado Avalanche 3. Kansas City Scouts 3. Detroit Red Wings 3. Montreal Canadiens
4. Edmonton Oilers 4. Nashville Predators 4. Hamilton Tigers 4. New Jersey Devils
5. Los Angeles 5. Philadelphia Flyers 5. Minnesota Wild 5. New York Islanders
6. Portland Eagles 6. Pittsburgh Penguins 6. Ottawa Senators 6. New York Rangers
7. San Jose Sharks 7. St. Louis Blues 7. Toronto Maple Leafs 7. Quebec Nordiques
8. Vancouver Canucks 8. Washington Capitals 8. Winnipeg Jets 8. Tampa Bay Lightning

 

Gained teams:

Kansas City, Quebec City, Portland, Hamilton

 

Lost teams:

Phoenix, Columbus

 

The Benefits:

• Simplicity — It’s much easier (especially for casual or new fans) to understand the setup of the league.

• Fairness — While I, myself don’t subscribe to the “the teams in the 7-team conferences have are more likely to make the playoffs” argument (listen, you are more likely to qualify for the post-season in an awful 8-team conference than a really competitive 7-team conference), this evening up of the conferences nullifies the argument altogether. (For an excellent analysis on this whole argument, check out Bjorn Mikkelsen’s Blog).

• Travel equity — Unlike all the efforts to minimize travel that so many have strived to achieve, we’ve actually increased travel for most teams. In an effort to create a more balanced travel schedule across the league we’ve “forced” every team to be in a conference that has a “medium-distance” travel load. The NHL West and NHL East have a heavier north-and-south travel burden… while the NHL North and the NHL South have a heavier east-and-west travel burden. I’m going to stop trying to explain this with words, now and just refer you back up to the map. 🙂

• Rivalries —  The major rivalries preserved in Gary’s plan are still here, plus we get a Kansas City/St. Louis one to enjoy now… not to mention the Montreal/Quebec rivalry that will be revived as well. Hamilton drops into the middle of the Golden Crescent to make a nice trifecta. Detroit and Chicago stay together, but join the Leafs to make a conference with three Original Six teams. The remaining three O6 teams (Montreal, Boston and New York) are all in a single conference as well.

 

Scheduling:

Same set up as last week:

Each team plays all it’s non-conference opponents once at home and once on the road: 2 games x 24 teams = 48 games

Each team plays it’s conference-mates twice at home and twice on the road: 4 games x 7 teams = 28 games

One home and one away with a single team from each of the other three conferences (rotating each year… completing the loop every eight seasons): 2 games x 3 teams = 6 games

48 games + 28 games + 6 games = 82 games

 

Playoffs:

• Top four teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs

• Round One: Conference Semifinals — #1 vs #4 and #2 vs #3

• Round Two: Conference Finals — Semifinal winners faceoff

• Round Three: “Frozen Four” type matchup. Conference Champ with the best record chooses which opponent they will face.

• Round Four: Stanley Cup Finals

 

And there you have it.

 

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

 

Don’t forget to share our lil’ project with your hockey fan friends. And, as always, thanks for reading. Until next Sunday!

— TF

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


NHL Realignment Project – Week 26

NHL Realignment Project - Week 26

Oh Six (One Last Time)

It’s hard to believe, but we’re HALF WAY THROUGH our lil’ project. Week 26 sees us visit our “Original Six” theme a final time… I promise, next week we’ll be going in a different direction again. Similar to last week, we’ve upped the number of teams in the league to 36 teams. We’re breaking the league down into six divisions of six teams each—one of which is made up of all of the Original Six teams.

This week we’ve changed up the map just a bit. The clustering along the east coast is a little less confusing. The non-original-six NYC-area teams have joined the lower-coast teams (Caps, Canes, and the Florida teams) in a division. Along with that change, the Pennsylvania-duo join the Sabres, Jackets, Sens and Nordiques to round out the Eastern Conference.

The West is pretty clean as is, so we’ve left it along this week. Let’s check out what we’ve got…

 

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 26

NHL Realignment Map - Week 26

 

The Breakdown:

EASTERN CONFERENCE:

Original Six Division: Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Montreal, New York, Toronto

Bossy Division: Carolina, Florida, New Jersy, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay, Washington

Lemieux Division: Buffalo, Columbus, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Quebec

WESTERN CONFERENCE:

Hull Division: Dallas, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis

Gretzky Division: Calgary, Edmonton, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Winnipeg

Dionne Division: Anaheim, Colorado, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose

 

Gained teams:

Kansas City, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Quebec, Portland, Seattle

 

Lost teams:

none

 

The Benefits:

• Tradition — The Original Six teams gets the recognition they deserve with their own division. Major rivalries such as PIT/PHI,  LAK/SJ, EDM/CGY to name a few have been maintained in-division.

• Travel — Other than Winnipeg (sorry guys), nobody has an in-division rival more than one time-zone over.

• Rivalries —  Even though Winnipeg is kinda screwed on travel, they do get a whole heapin’ mess’o rivals to content with. The Alberta teams and Vancouver are all in-division, through in what will sure turn into an awesome rivalry in Seattle/Portland, and the Gretzky division will be amazing. Cali, Colorado and the two desert cities will be great too. Oh, but wait, there will be a great Missouri rivalry… oh and Dallas/Minnesota have history… jeez, there’s also the current Southeast Division, but now with the awesome PIT/PHI rivalry… NYI/NJ will intensify… Quebec and Ottawa will heat up too. All awesome rivalry gold — oh and hey, and we haven’t even mentioned the original six!

 

Since this week is very similar to last week, as far as structure goes, I can work out the scheduling too. Here we go…

6 games against five in-divsion opponents = 30 games

2 games against thirty non-division opponents = 60 games

Well that was easy… other than the objection that the player’s union will have with 8 extra games on the schedule, we get the benefit of every team playing in every building. The shape that guys are in these days, they can handle 8 more games… plus the extra revenue  generated will find their way into those pockets anyhow. Another plus… MORE HOCKEY. Sold.

 

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

 

Until next Sunday!

— TF

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


 

NHL Realignment Project – Week 15

NHL Realignment Project - Week 15

Triple Threat

Okay, last week we took things to the limit by having 44(!) teams, so this week we pull back. The number of the week is THREE. We’re scuttling the THREE teams that get the most chatter on the internets about being in trouble… The Islanders, The Coyotes and The Blue Jackets.

The thing with this plan is we now have 27 teams… an uneven number. That is true my mathematical mates, but it isn’t a prime number so we can still divide. This week’s plan calls for breaking the NHL into THREE divisions of 9 teams each… No conferences.

In my new NHL Realignment, the top 5 teams in each of the THREE divisions make the playoffs, and the team with the next best record qualifies for the playoffs as a wildcard. Division champs plus next best record are the #1 seeds in a 16-team playoff bracket. The four #1 seeds go through a “draft-and-position” process to build their respective quadrants of the bracket. Woot!

NHL Realignment Map - Week 15

NHL Realignment Map - Week 15

 

Gained teams:

None

Lost teams:

Columbus, Phoenix, New York (Islanders)

Benefits:

• Travel — Minnesota and Winnipeg won’t think so, but there is a better balance of travel than in the current NHL. The Wild and the Jets are playing the role that the Stars currently play as the “WTF is up with our travel” teams… but to be fair, they at least have each other as divisional rivals which isn’t that far to travel. No Eastern Time Zone teams have West Coast Conference rivals (hard to compare completely, since there are no more conferences), but the Red Wings would love this.

• Talent — Less teams (theoretically) mean better hockey. The rosters of the three eliminated teams get pilfered for their best talent, who in turn replace the dregs of the teams that are left. I’m of the mind that there is TONS of talent in this league and that this won’t be as pronounced an influence as proponents of contraction say it will be, but on the other hand, you can’t argue against the fact that A’s and B’s are better than D’s and F’s.

 

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

 

Until 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 ».


NHL Realignment Project – Week 8

NHL Realignment Project — Week Eight

Week 8 – Canadian Madness

This week we mashup the good ol’ Divisional NHL with NCAA Basketball and toss in some Canadian Pride for good measure. The current 30-team NHL sees no relocation, but sees expansion into Quebec City and Hamilton… getting us up to the oft-dreamed-of 9 teams north of the border and even-more-oft-dreamed-of 32-team total scenario. The upper-right of our map is jammed packed now, so let’s see what we can do… Gone is the idea of two geographic Conferences. Again, think NCAA conferences instead. Four of ’em to be exact.

NHL Realignment Map - Week 8

NHL Realignment Map - Week Eight

Gained teams:

Hamilton, Quebec City

Lost teams:

None

Benefits:

• Canadian Teams Galore — Hamilton and Quebec (re)join the NHL, bringing the number of Canadian teams up to nine.

•  No more Eastern/Western Conferences — It’s no longer about East/West geography. Now we have four Conferences of 8-teams each. 

• Fan-freindly scheduling (with benefits) — You play in EVERY building at least once and every team plays in yours at least once. So every superstar can (barring injury) be seen in every city.

• Rivalry-unfriendly scheduling (with malevolence) — As you’ll see in the playoff formatting, this NHL is about winning your Conference and getting a “Number One Seed” to the playoffs. Teams will play each of their seven in-conference opponents four times per season (2 home, 2 away) and want to kill each other to guarantee a top-seed in the playoffs. Anger-management be damned!

• Slightly shorter regular season — If you’ve done the math from the previous two bullets, that comes out to a 76-game season. That’s less wear and tear on the players (meaning better playoffs), and we get to playoff hockey sooner. Speaking of that, as King of North America, I’m mandating that we start the season a month earlier and end it two months earlier. So we start at the beginning of September and end at the end of March—leaving playoffs for April and May. I’d rather compete for eyeballs against a Sunday-heavy NFL at the beginning of our season than directly with an NBA finals at the end.

• So let’s get to the playoffs already — In lots of sports, finishing in the top three means something special. Win, place, show in horse racing. Gold, Silver, Bronze in the Olympics, Champion, Runner-up, Third-place Winner in World Cups. This version of the NHL will have some of that same mentality… at least when it comes to playoff seeding. Teams finishing first, second or third in each of the four conferences qualify playoffs and are seeded #1, #2 and #3 in their respective “Conference Quadrant” of the playoffs bracket, giving us our first 12 teams. So your main reagular-season goal is to get into and stay in a top-three position in your conference. To change things up from the “good ol’ top-four-teams-in-the-division-make-it-to-the-playoffs” (and to be a little more fair to a really-good-fourth-place-team-in-a-great-conference), the best four teams (regardless of conference) after these initial 12 will qualify as “wildcards”, bringing us to 16.

• To the victor(s) go the spoils — Now, we build the bracket. As the team with the best regular-season record, the winner of the President’s Trophy holds all the cards. The bracket has four Conference Quadrants, each with their #1, #2, and #3 seeds established via regular season records, as discussed in the previous bullet point. Here’s the kicker, though: the President’s Trophy winner gets to layout the bracket. Are the Howe and Gretzky Conferences gonna be on the same side of the bracket, or will it be Gretzky and Hull? Everyone will still have to fight and scratch to make it out of their Conference Quadrant to the Final Four, but at one team will shape that journey more than the others. It’ll be nice to watch a GM be on the spot and make an important choice at a time other than Draft Day, Free-agency Day, or Trade-deadline Day.

• But wait, there’s more — In addition to that great bracket-building power the President’s Trophy winner also picks first which wildcard opponent will round out their quadrant of the bracket. So even more strategy comes into play before the first playoff puck drops. Do you give yourself the weakest opponent? Do you go with the closest geographically to cut down on travel? Does you make a pick that is based on avoiding a “really hot team” that streaked its way into the playoffs on an amazing run? All great questions that will make the selection ceremony that much more interesting. The next best Conference Champ picks his wildcard opponent second and so on until the bracket is set. Again, it’ll be super-interesting to tune in to see what the GMs will do that day.

I know that there are TONS of issues with this realignment map. Such as splitting up Pittsburgh and Philadelphia; Causing lots of extra travel (especially during the playoffs for Wildcard teams); Having a shorter season that makes it nearly impossible to break old records (but c’mon, Gretzky made most of them unbreakable even in a 100-game season). But, whatever! The in-conference intensity, the race for the President’s Trophy and crazy-awesome playoff format (that we get to even earlier) would all make it totally worth it.

(h/t to oilersnation.com for the original map)

Until next week, amigos!

— TF


NHL Realignment Project – Week 6

NHL Realignment Project — Week Six

Week 6 – Get Real, Take Two!

Thanks to a busy holiday weekend (and thinking about last week’s map a bit more), I’ve just tweaked the previous map a bit for NRP Week 6.

Sticking with the geographic names for the four divisions like last week. Unlike the previous edition, we’ve unbalanced the East and West. 16 of the 30 teams are Eastern Conference teams now. Columbus joins the Red Wings over in the East leaving 14 teams in the West. This is a very distinct possibility in the real world. We’ll see if Gary & Co. have the grapes to do this, though. I’d be cool with it.

NHL Realignment Map - Week 6

NHL Realignment Map - Week Six

Gained teams:

None

Lost teams:

None (Now, wouldn’t that be great?)

Benefits:

• Nobody loses their team — The anguish that Quebec, Atlanta and until recently, Winnipeg and Minnesota fans felt are nowhere to be seen in this scenario. Yay!

• Less travel — With teams in three of the four divisions never having to leave their time zone for divisional games (and Mountain-West teams only having to, at most, travel one time-zone over), the frequent flyer miles haven’t seen such little use since the Original Six days.

• Detroit and Columbus outta the West — Wings finally get their long-standing wish. For good measure, Columbus gets their wish too.

• Room for expansion — I know that the NHL says they have no expansion plans for now, but even in this “reality-based scenario”, a healthy  league can easily grow into two more markets and reach the sports-nirvana of 32-teams. This set up of 16 teams in the East bodes well for westward expansion (we’re looking at you Las Vegas, Seattle, Portland, Houston, Kansas City, Salt Lake City). Conversely, this bodes ill for Hamilton and Quebec City… who knows, maybe I’ll have a 36-team league in a future installment, and everyone can be happy!

(h/t to oilersnation.com for the original map)

Hasta la proxima semana!

— TF


 

NHL Realignment Project – Week 4

NHL Realignment Project — Week Four

Week 4 – The Devil You Say!

All apologies to Kevin Smith, but this week, the biggest victims are the New Jersey Devils. The Devils have underachieved in attendance forever, and there are just too many teams in the Greater NYC area. In this make believe world, I could just has easily taken the axe to the Islanders, but let’s say they’ve just signed an agreement to move to the new arena in Brooklyn, so they stay.

I’m sure in a future installment, I’ll move the four-time champs instead of the three time champs.

Anyhoo, I’ll be sticking with the 30-team (with 9 in Canada) set up for this week again. Unlike last week, we’ve kept the sunny states in the mix, though. And GASP… Phoenix has kept their team!

There’s been a little bit of a change in my homage division names. This week, Orr is out and Richard is in, plus there are more divisions, so we’ve added Lemieux and Dionne.

NHL Realignment Map - Week 4

NHL Realignment Map - Week Four

 

Read more of this post »

NHL Realignment Project – Week 3

NHL Realignment Project — Week Three

Week 3 – Damn, that’s Cold

Okay, I’m going a bit radical this week. This one is for all those anti-southern city folks.

NOTE: I am not one of the anti-southern city peeps. I live in Texas, after all.

So basically, with this plan, we’ve decided that the NHL hockey is a purely niche sport that has no place in the warmer climates where there isn’t a culture of hockey, or at least a cold enough winter to cultivate one. Niche sport means niche salaries, so some of the smaller market teams could survive with a slightly lower salary cap. My completely arbitrary line of demarcation (other than the fact it is used as a border for quite a few states) is the 37th parallel north. Four former champs (Stars, Hurricanes, Lightning, Ducks) get bounced, not to mention another runner-up (Kings). Damn, that’s cold. Oh well.

Sticking with the current 30-team makeup… just relocating current further north. Also sticking with Week Two’s division names.


NHL Realignment Map - Week 3

NHL Realignment Project — Week Three

Gained teams:

Quebec City, Portland, Sacramento, Kansas City, Seattle, Indiana, Salt Lake, Hamilton

Lost teams:

Dallas, Tampa Bay, Florida, Nashville, Carolina, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Anaheim

Benefits:

Honestly, not all that much. That being said, here we go:

• Easier support for/from youth leagues. — With longer winters (a.k.a. less outdoor sport competition), youth hockey leagues and grassroots interest in the sport can thrive more than in the South.

• More Canadian teams — Hamilton and Quebec City join the league bringing the home of hockey up to 9 teams.

• Interesting(?) new rivalries — Sacramento/San Jose, Portland/Seattle, Seattle/Vancouver, KC/St. Louis, Toronto/Hamilton, Quebec City/Montreal, Salt Lake/Colorado (admittedly inter-divisional)

• More balanced East/West — Decent split geographically, allowing for the Wings and Blue Jackets to be Eastern Time Zone teams in the Eastern Conference. Indiana is (at least a tiny portion) partially in the Central Time Zone… so that’s my excuse for the team in Indianapolis.

Fear not, Texas/Florida/Carolina/SoCal/Tennessee/Arizona folks… a change this drastic can never happen. There are just too many people and money south of the 37th. But don’t get too cozy, Phoenix and Miami, there’s a really good chance you’ll be losing your teams in the next 1-3 years. D’oh! (h/t to oilersnation.com for the original map)

Until next week!

— TF

NHL Realignment Project – Week 2

NHL Realignment Project — Week Two
Week 2 — Phoenix to Seattle

Welcome  back, true believers. Week two is upon us. This week we’ll look at a slightly more plausible scenario for the NHL’s 2012-2013 season. The league stays at the current 30-team count and the only team joining the Winnipeg team in relocation (now with a Jets logo on the map), is the Seattle Coyotes.

Almost everyone seems to agree that the “save” that Glendale/NHL team was able to perform this year is more of a “save with a fat rebound that will be slammed home” next year. So I’m moving ’em. Just like Week One, the Coyotes are going to Seattle. Hamilton, Quebec, KC and Las Vegas will have to wait (for now).

The 30-team league breaks down into Eastern and Western Conferences again. Each conference has two divisions. I tried labeling the divisions geographically at first, but it didn’t seem right to have Detroit and Columbus in a “Southeast” Division, so I went with (arguably) the biggest names to play for a team in the new divisions… Gretzky, Hull, Orr and Howe. I’ll let sons and fathers argue over which Hull we’re talking about. 🙂

Seeing how 30 isn’t divisible by 4, and how my number one goal for this realignment was to get all Eastern Time Zone teams into the Eastern Conference I’ve gone with an unbalanced lineup. The two Eastern Divisions each have 8 teams, while the two Western Divisions each have 7 teams. Anyone who doesn’t like this, please refer to my King of North America Defense again.

So after that long intro, here are the goods:

Gained teams:

Seattle

Lost teams:

Phoenix

Benefits:

• Time Zone Harmony — Much to the delight of TV-watching fans, Time Zone insanity has been nearly eliminated. Only three teams have to leave their time zone for divisional road games… and exactly zero teams have to travel more than one time zone away for those same games (again, Dallas and Minnesota, you’re welcome).

• Fairer travel — Extension of the first benefit. Like last week’s plan, this mitigates some of the unfair travel strain placed on teams with the current league lineup. Sure, Western teams will still have to travel more often than their Eastern brothers, but geography and population clusters make a pure balance pretty much impossible. This is better than the current plan.

• New rivalries — Seattle becomes a natural rival for Vancouver. Detroit, Philly and Pittsburgh bring some gravitas to a reasonably young set of teams in the Howe Division… not to mention Penguins developing a thirst for proving to the Wings that Lemieux was snubbed in the division naming process. Dallas and Minnesota get to play more often and hash out their “you stole our team/suck it, we’re better” feud. Throw in a new Jets/Blues/Stars “they mean OUR Hull” rivalry and we’ve got some good stuff.

 

NHL Realignment Map - Week 2

NHL Realignment Project — Week Two

And there you have it. Off to bed (and to ponder next week’s realignment).

— Tom Fulery