After Sunrise

The Florida Panthers have always been the easy whipping-boy for the “hockey doesn’t belong in non-traditional markets” crowd. They are also always the first picked on by the “NHL realignment is easy, just do this….” crowd.

The reality is, they have one of the cushiest arena leases out there (and for 14 more years). So I’ve never put too much stock in the Panthers-to-this-city-or-that noise. But this recent article makes things a little more interesting.

Obviously, owners of franchises always talk a lot of crap when they are trying to squeeze more “free money” out of the tax base, but when an owner starts saying thing like “unsustainable” and talks of getting a break on what would be an $80 million lease buy out, there may be a little fire to that smoke. Don’t get me wrong, I still think it’s mostly posturing to get the $80 million subsidy they’ve tried to twice in the last little while (coincidentally the same amount as the lease buyout amount)… but, my adjective has shifted to “mostly” from “totally.”

I’m sure new owner Vincent Viola would totally take the taxpayers’ money if it happens, but I also don’t think it’s far-fetched for him to move the team if he doesn’t get an even more favorable agreement in Sunrise.

That was a really long intro to the following musing for a new map (it’s been forever since I made one, I know).

Picture if you will, an NHL where the league finally admits they are ready to expand. Thanks to crazy money being talked about for a second GTA team, and, I’m sure somewhat crazy money for a return team for Quebec City, some 1-2 billion bucks are to be split between the 30 ownership groups. If Viola can negotiate down from the $80 million he’d have to pay Sunrise to leave, plus a bunch o’ new money in his pocket, it’s not too far-fetched that he’d do it.

Now in this scenario he could be the owner for the “we don’t have an owner” but let’s get the NHL in Vegas hullabaloo we’ve all heard. Or he could be the guy that finally hitches his wagon to Hansen and gets the MOU changed to allow hockey-first in the Seattle arena deal? Or perhaps he could just move over to existing NHL arenas in Kansas City or Houston. Whichever way, let’s look at the maps that show this new NHL… just in time for the league’s centennial celebration:

 

The Seattle Version:

Centennial-NHL-Realignment-Map-SEA

 

The Las Vegas Version:

Centennial-NHL-Realignment-Map-LV

 

 

The Houston Version:

Centennial-NHL-Realignment-Map-HOU

 

The Kansas City Version:

Centennial-NHL-Realignment-Map-KC

 

Some notes:

  • Four eight-team conferences. Just like ol’ Gary originally wanted until the mathematicians out there all screamed about unfair, mathematical advantages to teams in smaller conferences.
  • No wild-card. That’s was Gary’s cop out to allow for the unbalanced conferences (that were changed back to divisions)
  • Top four teams in each conference make the playoffs
  • First two rounds determine conference champions… a “final four” if you will
  • Final Four are reseeded based on regular season record for “Stanley Cup Semi-finals” — 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3.
  • Yes, this is a really good thing… With four conferences sending representatives to the semifinals instead of two conferences sending their champs directly to the final, the potential a very imbalanced dud of a final series goes down… not to mention the chance for an original-six Stanley Cup Finals goes up. New York vs. Boston for the Cup, anyone? Pens vs. Leafs… SportsNet and NBC execs have just passed out.
  • I’ve brought back Smythe, Norris Adams, and Patrick. A bonus way to celebrate the tradition of 100 years of NHL hockey… bringing back the cool-ass, no other league has it naming structure.
  • Yes, I know that I’ve put the second GTA team a not-Eastern Conference. Anyone willing to pay upwards of a billion dollars on expansion, is going to be okay with the stipulation that they play 23 of their 82 games (see schedule below) outside of their timezone.

Schedule:

48 games — Home and Home versus non-confernce opponents

28 games — 2 Home/2 Away versus conference-mates

6 games — An additional Home and Away versus one team in each of the other three conferences (rotates through all teams each eight years)

I think that works out. 82 games

 

Caveats for all this: I’m tired and not good at math, so there might be something wrong in the above schedule… I have no insider info on the goings on of the NHL, the Panthers, or any other team… I’m just a guy with photoshop, wordpress, a nurse wife working an overnight tonight and a daughter that mercifully went to bed at a decent hour … No need to call me an idiot in the comments, I already know this… don’t take this seriously (hey, my name is Tom Fulery)… I don’t wish any ill on the Panther fan base—losing a team must suck really badly (my friend and former Thrashers season-ticket holder, still isn’t over it)… I used the “Toronto Legacy” logo from the now defunct torontolegacy.com site—I claim no rights to it (nor any of the other logos)… I stuck a scorpion in Las Vegas, just cuz.

Thanks and good night:

— TF

What if NHL expansion is actually a really good idea? (Trending Topics) | Puck Daddy – Yahoo Sports

From PuckDaddy. I like the article (minus the attributing some pre-Bettman expansion to Gary).

 

What if NHL expansion is actually a really good idea? (Trending Topics) | Puck Daddy – Yahoo Sports.

 

 

 

NHL expansion would help the Coyotes cause

From USA Today:

 

 

NHL expansion would help the Coyotes cause.

For the Stars fans among you…

Welcome back to the playoffs. Feel free to download this Facebook cover photo to show your support for the boys in Victory Green as they take down the ducks.

Stars-FB-Cover

 

 

 

 

 

PS – If your name is George Lucas, please don’t sent some Sith lord over to my house because I used your ’83 design. Much love (except for the young Anakin crap… and the Jango Fett mess… and the “died of a broken heart” garbage).

NHL, AHL, ECHL, CHL Affiliations & Alignments [map/infographic]

For those of you who missed it over the last little while, here is link to my map/infographic of the “big four” affiliated professional hockey leagues in North America. There are additional minor professional and major juniors things in there too.

NHL-AHL affiliates (plus ECHL, CHL and more)  Enjoy the map, and share on Twitter and FB if you like it »

NHL playoff format 2014: How does the new system work? – SBNation.com

Everyone seems to be confused on the new format of the NHL playoffs this year. Here’s your primer:

NHL playoff format 2014: How does the new system work? – SBNation.com. [SB Nation]

—TF

NHL looking to expand; Kansas City, of course, is not on the list | The Fast Pitch | The Pitch

NHL looking to expand; Kansas City, of course, is not on the list | The Fast Pitch | The Pitch.

NHL rumors: Is Las Vegas No. 2 on potential expansion list? – CBSSports.com

NHL rumors: Is Las Vegas No. 2 on potential expansion list? – CBSSports.com.

Which cities best fit Gary Bettman’s criteria for NHL expansion? – The Hockey News

 

Which cities best fit Gary Bettman’s criteria for NHL expansion? – The Hockey News.

Duhatschek: A novel idea for the NHL’s expansion woes – The Globe and Mail

Duhatschek: A novel idea for the NHL’s expansion woes – The Globe and Mail.