Quebec City and Las Vegas

With the news coming down that only two cities actually ponied up the $10M to apply for expansion, we have to look at the very real possibility that the perceived “Westward Expansion” ain’t happening. That said, I threw together a quick map that I shared on twitter (feel free to follow me @NHLMaps), but neglected to post here. Below is that map. I’m actually pulling together some thoughts on a real solid argument for the four standalone conferences you see in this map and will post that soon(ish… newborns and blogs aren’t a good pairing it turns out).

Until then, enjoy this map:

New-Look-NHL---LVandQC

NHL Realignment Project – Week 31

NHL Realignment Project - Wk31

Seeking 32 (Quebec City, Seattle, Houston)

First of all, sorry for the very late post this week… Christmas and its aftermath have been a beatdown. But better late than never, eh? This week we take our “Seeking 32” idea and mess with it a bit. We do get to 32 teams in 4 conferences, but we through a tiny bit of a wrinkle in things by further dividing each conference into 2 pods of 4 teams each… now, before everyone freaks out, it is FOR SCHEDULING REASONS ONLY! Come back down off the ledges please, everyone… we’re not even gonna name them. Playoff format is still the same (top four in each conference qualify, but now you intensify the rivalries with your traditional and/or closest rivals and the schedule is a little more sensible.

 

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 31

NHL Realignment Map - Week 31

 

The Breakdown:

Again, our conferences all have eight teams… but (only for scheduling reasons), each is made up of 2 pods of four 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. 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. Nashville Predators 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. Columbus Blue Jackets
7. Seattle Metropolitans 7. Tampa Bay Lightning 7. New York Islanders 7. Ottawa Senators
8. Vancouver Canucks 8. Washington Capitals 8. Quebec Nordiques 8. Toronto Maple Leafs

 

Gained teams:

Quebec City, Houston, Seattle

 

Lost teams:

Phoenix

 

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 — 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. (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 the 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 a Dallas/Houston one 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

 

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 ».