What the 2013-14 NHL Should Look Like

It’s pretty safe to assume that the NHL isn’t going to expand or contract any time soon. And it’s just as safe to assume that realignment will happen for the 2013-14 season without any relocations. With that in mind, I’ve put together this recommendation to the powers that be for what a sensible, rivalry-filled and complete NHL alignment should be, compete with schedule details… again, like week 52, this should only be a short-term thing. A 32-team league with an even more sensible alignment would be better.

This is kind of an addendum to the NHL Realignment Project I just finished, but it is laser-focused on being realistic and getting it right (until expansion, anyways).

My main goal was to create an atmosphere for rivalries (cultivate existing ones and hopefully creating new ones). My other “must have” was that every team play in every other team’s building at least once.

Please make this NHL realignment happen. Thanks!

Please make this NHL realignment happen. Thanks!

You’ll probably notice that the divisional alignment is the same as my Week 52 scenario, but now I’ve streamlined and modified the “Rivalry Pods” from that proposal. The rivalry pods are made up of one team from each of the divisions in the conference, paying attention (where possible) to existing non-divisional rivalries that exist today. Additionally, this rivalry pod concept will make the NHL unique amongst the “Big 4” North American sports. We all know it’s the best, but a little extra “we’re cooler than you” can only help.

Pod-mates of note:

DET/COL (Draper);

WPG/PHX, MIN/DAL (relocation revenge);

VAN/CHI (duh); EDM/LA (Gretzky);

WSH/PIT (recent playoffs (not to mention Syd and Ovie));

MTL/NYI (two longest Cup dynasties);

TOR/PHI (last champ of the Original Six era and first champ from the Great Expansion);

NYR/BOS (Original Six plus Yankees Red Sox);

FLA/BUF/NJ (Three of the four cities with teams in the NFL’s AFC East)

The make-up of the pods can be argued and shifted, but I think this would be the ideal set up for a slightly realigned NHL.

I could see this happening.

Maybe we’ll be lucky and it actually will.

 

— TeeEff

4 Responses to What the 2013-14 NHL Should Look Like

  1. Whiskey Mcclinton says:

    While this looks like a very likely scenario, I would much rather see time zone based divisions.

    • tom says:

      I agree that the teams in Minnesota and Winnipeg are the ones that have to make the biggest sacrifice in this scenario, but like Week 52’s scenario, I’d like this to happen just until we expand to 32 and go with the four conference set up (the 4 conference thing looks more and more like what is going to happen… expansion soon thereafter).

      Other than those two teams (and at least they have each other) no on in this scenario has to travel more than one time zone over for a divisional game.

      Unfortunately, for sensible people like you and me who would love a more time zone based alignment, without relocation, there just aren’t enough teams spread across the timezones to make it work.

      It’ll be interesting to see how the PA will react to the unbalanced four conference set up that is sounds like the NHL is going bring back after this season.

  2. Andrew says:

    I think the math is a little off, wouldn’t it only be 78 games:

    6 games against divisional opponents: 6 x 4 = 24
    2 games against non-divisional conference opponents: 2 x 10 = 20
    2 games against non-conference opponents: 2 x 15 = 30
    2 games against rivalry pod opponents: 2 x 2 = 4

    24 + 20 + 30 + 4 = 78

    There are only 3 teams in the pod, so you play an extra home/away against the other two, you cannot play yourself. If you made it an extra 2 home/away games against the rivalry pod opponents then you could get the 82 games that the owners would want too. You would then be playing 6 games against divisional opponents and rivalry pod opponents.

    • tom says:

      Seriously, my mind has been out to lunch lately. Thanks for the catch, Andrew. The edits have been made and reposted. I added one extra home and away game versus rivalry partners now… it works out nicely because it brings us up to our normal 82-game season again.

      Thanks again for the catch.

      —TF

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