NHL Realignment Project – Week 49

NHL Realignment Project - Week 49

 

Gary’s Dream – With a Little Barbecue Sauce

So, last week we outlined a version of the NHL that could very conceivably be something Gary Bettman could steer the league towards. The biggest caveat of the week was the issues that Markham seems to have run into with their arena plans. If we pull them out of the equation, and limit our relocation/expansion efforts to cities with arenas that have already been approved or have  been built, we end up with a slightly tweaked version of Gary’s dream (granted, to the league it would be a nightmare, because they would certainly not be as able to milk nearly as much out of expansion fees without the richest city in Canada).

The Sprint Center in Kansas City, the New Colisée in Quebec City, and the not-yet-named arena in Seattle are the sites of our expansion/relocation efforts in this installment.

Like last week, let’s make the assumption that from the short-lived realignment that the league proposed last year, the commish is interested in four conferences… which in turn, reflect and reinforce the idea of a 32-team league to even up the conferences at 8 teams each. And again, the proposed playoff format will piss off a ton of fans (and make another ton very happy somehow), but the trade off of having a more fair travel load across the league and the maintaining of most of the major rivalries in the league, might be worth it.

Besides, I’m willing to bet right now that most fans would be more than fine with a realignment and a re-working of the playoff format if it meant we got to watch some damn hockey again.

 

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 49

NHL Realignment Map – Week 49

 

The Breakdown:

This week’s re-imagined league brings back the NHL’s four-conference breakdown proposed last year (links provided for concept names/logos).

GRETZKY CONFERENCE
Anaheim Ducks
Calgary Flames
Colorado Avalanche
Edmonton Oilers
Los Angeles Kings
San Jose Sharks
Seattle Metros
Vancouver Canucks
HOWE CONFERENCE
Chicago Blackhawks
Columbus Blue Jackets
Detroit Red Wings
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
Philadelphia Flyers
Pittsburgh Penguins
ORR CONFERENCE
Boston Bruins
Buffalo Sabres
Minnesota Wild
Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators
Quebec Tempest
Toronto Maple Leafs
Winnipeg Jets
HULL CONFERENCE
Carolina Hurricanes
Dallas Stars
Florida Panthers
Kansas City Scouts
Nashville Predators
St. Louis Blues
Tampa Bay Lightning
Washington Capitals

 

Gained teams:

Seattle, Kansas City, Quebec City

 

Lost teams:

Phoenix

 

The Benefits:

• Rivalries — I tried my best to keep most of the major rivalries together. The more obvious ones are all here, of course, but even the “secondary” ones like the Sabres and the Leafs have been maintained where possible. Some of the Hull Conference teams could evolve into good rivalries too, like Dallas and Nashville and obviously Kansas City and St. Louis. And to all you who constantly complain that the PHI/NYR rivalry is more important than the PIT/PHI rivalry… once again, the Broadway Blueshirts and the Broad Street Bullies and kept together.

• Travel — Four conferences cut down on travel for the teams that currently have the heaviest burden (mainly Dallas, Winnipeg, Minnesota). Teams with the lightest travel burdens right now add a little more, but are still in much better shape than the frequent-flier champs. All conferences now span two time zones and none span three. Some of the old guard on the east coast won’t like this, but fair is fair.

• Heritage — The conferences are named for some of the greats from the history of the game. Only issue with this is having only four will spark countless debate on the choices (Richard, Plante, Kennedy, Bossy, Smith, Lafleur, etc.)

 

Scheduling:

Each team plays:

– against its seven conference-mates twice at home and twice on the road each:
 4 games x 7 teams = 28 games

– against the teams in the other conferences once at home and once on the road:
2 games x 24 teams = 48 games

– half of each conference pair up for an additional home-and-home series (switch the pairings each season):
2 games x 3 teams = 6 games

28 + 48 + 6 = 82 game season
Playoffs:

• Top four teams from each conference qualify for a “final four” style tournament. All series are best of seven.

• Round 1: Conference Semifinals (1 seed vs. 4 seed; 2 vs. 3  (based on overall record))

• Round 2: Conference Finals (first round winners play each other)

• Round 3: Stanley Cup Semifinals (best overall record of remaining teams picks it’s opponent for this round)

• Round 4: Stanley Cup Finals

As always, thanks for reading, and don’t forget to use the sharing buttons to spread the word and wish me luck on my impending fatherhood in February.

 

—Tom

NHL Realignment Project – Week 44

NHL Realignment Project - Week 44

 

There Is No Spoon

Neo, this message was intercepted from the machine communication network. It shows a system of “Bread and Circuses” that the machines have implemented to placate the masses. As we all know, some time in the early 21st Century (right after Gary Bettman relinquished his post), ice hockey overtook all other sports in North America to become THE main spectator sport for the region. The machines have realigned the sport in the Matrix to maximize it’s appeal and effectiveness, but in doing so have committed a fatal error in judgement (since they don’t have that capacity), they left out the people of Hamilton, Ontario… and everyone knows how rabid they are. Study this message and use it to incite a revolt starting in Southern Ontario and spreading across the continent then around the world! You must not fail, Chosen One, for if you do, they may reprogram the Matrix and make Baseball the most popular sport again… or worse, bring back Bettman. Godspeed!

 

——————– BEGIN INTERCEPTED MESSAGE ——————–

Electronic Memo to the Bread-and-Circuses Program—Your efforts to create and maintain a level of acceptance in the minds of the subjugated human fuel cells has been reviewed and deemed a success for the 1,917th cycle. We continue to approve of the use of the top 24 Combined Statistical Areas in the United States (with the inclusion of the largest standalone Metropolitan Statistical Areas of Miami, Phoenix, San Diego and Tampa) and the 8 largest Canadian Census Metropolitan Areas, for the broadest reach and most efficient population inclusion. The following data were written to the database for archiving:

 

The Map (based on a free wallpaper of the NHL created by some foolish human in 2012):

NHL Realignment Map - Matrix

NHL Realignment Map – Matrix

 

The Breakdown:

The breaking down of the league into two conferences of control is a legacy format based on the 1967 expansion and bifurcation of the NHL, and subsequently continued by a our operative, Agent Bettman upon achieving his super-admin post on February 1, 1993.

Each conference is further subdivided into four divisions to help further regional collectivism and rivalry (and thus facilitate control) of the humans therein.

 

Gained teams from the above-mentioned map:

Atlanta, Cleveland, Houston, Orlando, Quebec City, Sacramento, San Diego, Seattle

 

Lost teams from the above-mentioned map:

Columbus, Buffalo, Uniondale, Newark, Nashville, Anaheim

 

The Benefits:

• Efficient Dispersal of Most Effective Human Control Agent — Their love of their local hockey team and their loathing of the teams based in other locations (most notably accentuated by opposing teams situated within the same subdivision as their own).

 

Scheduling:

Each team plays its in-division opponents three times at home and three times on the road: 6 games x 3 teams = 18 games (played in home-and-home series)

Each team plays its in-conference opponents twice at home and twice on the road: 4 games x 12 teams = 48 games (played in home-and-home series)

Each team plays its out-of-conference opponents once at home and once  on the road: 2 games x 16 teams = 32 games (played in home-and-home series)

18 games + 48 games + 32 games = 98 games — ADDITIONAL NOTE: The injection of a fatigue-eliminating sub-program has been an unqualified success.

 

Playoffs (all series best-of-seven in 2-2-1-1-1 format):

• 4 division winners from each conference qualify for the playoffs (seeded #1-#4 by record)

• 4 best records amongst the non-division winners in each conference are awarded wild-card spots (seeded #5-#8 by record)

• Round One: Conference Quarterfinals — #1 vs #8, #2 vs #7, #3 vs #6, #4 vs #5 (home-ice advantage to higher seeded team)

• Round Two: Conference Semifinals — Highest seed vs lowest seed, 2nd highest vs 2nd lowest (home-ice advantage to higher seeded team)

• Round Three: Conference Finals — Remaining two teams in conference (home-ice advantage to higher seeded team)

• Round Four: Stanley Cup Finals — Conference Champions (home-ice advantage goes to team with the best record)

 

Continued Success,

Review Sub-Program — Department of Human Distraction

——————– END INTERCEPTED MESSAGE ——————–

Some notes and a very special thanks this week to the creators of some of the concepts used in the logos:

– Houston Sabres (based on current Buffalo logo)

– Orlando Devils (based on New Jersey Devils concept by Matthiason (DeviantArt Gallery))

– Quebec Tempest (concept by Ryan Barber (Icethetics feature))

– Sacramento Royals (I just crapped that one out, cuz I couldn’t find anything)

– San Diego Ducks (based on current Anaheim Ducks logo)

– Seattle Metros (concept by Ryan Haslett (Icethetics feature))

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 41

NHL Realignment Project - Week 41

Whale of a Tweak

These week’s entry is only five days late. Which is slightly different than last week’s six days late. In that spirit, this week’s NHL Realignment Scenario is only slightly different than last week’s… nooch!

I know the economic viability is a question, but everyone loves the idea of the Whalers (and their AWESOME uniforms) coming back into the league. for some reason we all have a soft spot for ’em.

In order to accommodate this and keep last week’s structure, our league is gonna have to lose a team that few (especially Jeff Carter) have any kind of soft spot for… Columbus.

Let’s see the result (Those readers who are extra keen will notice a whole lot of copy/paste from last week… shhhhh!).

NHL Realignment Map - Week 41

NHL Realignment Map - Week 41

 

The Breakdown:

Two relocations plus two expansions equals a 32-team league. Our breakdown this week yields yet another four-conference alignment. Each conference is made up of 8-teams that are reasonably geographically clustered.

Pacific Conference
Anaheim Ducks Phoenix Coyotes
Calgary Flames San Jose Sharks
Edmonton Oilers Seattle Metros*
Los Angeles Kings Vancouver Canucks
Central Conference
Chicago Blackhawks Minnesota Wild
Colorado Avalanche Nashville Predators
Dallas Stars St. Louis Blues
Kansas City Scouts Winnipeg Jets
Northeast Conference
Boston Bruins Montreal Canadiens
Buffalo Sabres Ottawa Senators
Detroit Red Wings Quebec Tempest*
Hartford Whalers Toronto Maple Leafs
Atlantic Conference
Carolina Hurricanes Philadelphia Flyers
Florida Panthers Pittsburgh Penguins
New Jersey Devils Tampa Bay Lightning
New York Rangers Washington Capitals

*Bonus fun—This week, the new teams in Seattle and Quebec City get there names and logos from concepts put forth in the excellent blog, Icethetics. There is a concept page for the the Seattle Metros and the Quebec Tempest (or Tempête). Thought it would be fun to mix it up and give a shout out to a great blog and some amazing work by some of their readers.

 

Gained Teams:

Seattle, Quebec City, Kansas City, Hartford

 

Lost Teams:

Long Island, Columbus

 

The Benefits:

• The Whale — C’mon! It’s the whale. Even Brodie from Mallrats knows what’s up.

• Geography/Travel — No division is made up of more than two time-zones. No Eastern Time Zone teams are located in the Western half of the breakdown.

• All-inclusive — Every team visits every other team’s building. The fact that this hasn’t been league policy for so long is a travesty.

• Rivalries —  Other than CHI/DET, all major rivalries are preserved. And as Philly fan and reader of the blog noted this week, many Flyer fans would be more broken up about losing the Rangers and Devils as rivals than the Pens. Many would argue this statement and many would support it… so I made everyone happy and kept all four teams together.

 

Scheduling:

Conference Games: 2 home & 2 away vs. 7 teams = 28 games

Inter-Conference Games: 1 home & 1 away vs. 24 teams = 48 games

An additional Home-and-Away versus a single opponent in each of the conferences not your own (to rotate through the league every 8 years): 1 home & 1 away vs. 3 teams = 6 games

TOTAL = 82 games

 

Playoffs:

Top four in each conference qualify. First two rounds determine Conference Champions. Third round is the semi-finals (with the team with the best regular season record choosing his opponent). Fourth round is the Stanley Cup Finals.

(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 40

NHL Realignment Project - Week 40

Arena Talk

Crazy deadlines at the real-world job pushed this week’s entry to a very late release… but here it is.

With the news of a potential buyer for the Phoenix franchise, it’s time we switched focus to arenas—who has them, who soon will and who can’t seem to get one built.

Phoenix has a good arena… and maybe with a new owner they can start to spend some money (on marketing, not just players) and people might start showing up to fill that areana (Dallas is going through the same thing now with their new owner Tom Gaglardi). So this week, we’re leaving the Coyotes in the desert and look at a few other cities and their arena situations (good and bad).

The good: Kansas City has an NHL-ready arena just sitting there. The city of Seattle seems to be on the brink of getting one in a year or two. Quebec City is finishing up last details for getting a brand spanking new arena started as well.

The bad: One of the biggest issues arena-wise is out on Long Island. With an owner wanting serious concessions/overtures from the good folks of Nassau County before committing to sticking around, let’s look at a “not-completely-out-of-the-realm-possibility” scenario that has the Islanders moving outta the market completely.

The preemptive strike: Yes I know there are other arena issues out there, but most are based on financial agreement issues (revenue sharing, lease terms), not on structural issues (bad sight lines, low capacity, no luxury boxes, etc). So we’re sticking with the Islanders this week. But I’m sure others fit the mould too.

With three revenue-generating arenas ready or soon to be ready, it’s kind of hard to believe Gary when he says that expansion is not  in the NHL’s near-future (c’mon, did you think the NHL was going was going to allow the league to stay unbalanced for more than a couple of years with their proposed alignment). Expansion fees are where the money’s at for the league… not so much relocation fees. So how do all these pieces fit together? Let’s go to the map:

 

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 40

NHL Realignment Map - Week 40

The Breakdown:

One relocation plus two expansions equals a 32-team league. Our breakdown this week yields yet another four-conference alignment. Each conference is made up of 8-teams that are reasonably geographically clustered.

Pacific Conference
Anaheim Ducks Phoenix Coyotes
Calgary Flames San Jose Sharks
Edmonton Oilers Seattle Metros*
Los Angeles Kings Vancouver Canucks
Central Conference
Chicago Blackhawks Minnesota Wild
Colorado Avalanche Nashville Predators
Dallas Stars St. Louis Blues
Kansas City Scouts Winnipeg Jets
Northeast Conference
Boston Bruins Montreal Canadiens
Buffalo Sabres Ottawa Senators
Columbus Blue Jackets Quebec Tempest*
Detroit Red Wings Toronto Maple Leafs
Atlantic Conference
Carolina Hurricanes Philadelphia Flyers
Florida Panthers Pittsburgh Penguins
New Jersey Devils Tampa Bay Lightning
New York Rangers Washington Capitals

*Bonus fun—This week, the new teams in Seattle and Quebec City get there names and logos from concepts put forth in the excellent blog, Icethetics. There is a concept page for the the Seattle Metros and the Quebec Tempest (or Tempête). Thought it would be fun to mix it up and give a shout out to a great blog and some amazing work by some of their readers.

 

Gained Teams:

Seattle, Quebec City, Kansas City

 

Lost Teams:

Long Island

 

The Benefits:

• Geography/Travel — No division is made up of more than two time-zones. No Eastern Time Zone teams are located in the Western half of the breakdown.

• All-inclusive — Every team visits every other team’s building. The fact that this hasn’t been league policy for so long is a travesty.

• Rivalries —  Other than CHI/DET, all major rivalries are preserved. And as Philly fan and reader of the blog noted this week, many Flyer fans would be more broken up about losing the Rangers and Devils as rivals than the Pens. Many would argue this statement and many would support it… so I made everyone happy and kept all four teams together.

 

Scheduling:

Conference Games: 2 home & 2 away vs. 7 teams = 28 games

Inter-Conference Games: 1 home & 1 away vs. 24 teams = 48 games

An additional Home-and-Away versus a single opponent in each of the conferences not your own (to rotate through the league every 8 years): 1 home & 1 away vs. 3 teams = 6 games

TOTAL = 82 games

 

Playoffs:

Top four in each conference qualify. First two rounds determine Conference Champions. Third round is the semi-finals (with the team with the best regular season record choosing his opponent). Fourth round is the Stanley Cup Finals.

(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 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 29

NHL Realignment Project - Week 29

Where do we go from here?

Now that we’ve had a week to digest the big news of what the NHL will (most likely) look like in 2012, we can begin to ponder the question of where we go from here. I’m gonna do my best Santa Claus impersonation and deliver the gift of “every NHL city will retain their team”. So with all the Phoenix, Long Island, Carolina, Columbus, and Florida eyes a-smiling, we are gonna do the thing that the 7-7-8-8 setup that the new conferences demands we do… figure out how to get us to four 8-team conferences. Let’s have a look at one way this might go down.

 

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 29

NHL Realignment Map - Week 29

 

The Breakdown:

Stickin’ with Gary’s four conferences… All four now have eight teams. Quebec City brings the “Eastern Conference” up to eight teams, joining Boston, Buffalo, the Eastern Canadian teams and the Florida teams.  Since Detroit’s brass seem to be appeased with the new league breakdown, we’re leaving them in the Central with rival Chicago and adding Kansas City. Columbus leaves the Central behind (getting that Conference back down to eight) and joins the Atlantic getting them up to eight as well.

Pacific Conference Central Conference Eastern Conference Atlantic Conference
1. Anaheim Ducks 1. Chicago Blackhawks 1. Boston Bruins 1. Carolina Hurricanes
2. Calgary Flames 2. Dallas Stars 2. Buffalo Sabres 2. Columbus Blue Jackets
3. Colorado Avalanche 3. Detroit Red Wings 3. Florida Panthers 3. New Jersey Devils
4. Edmonton Oilers 4. Kansas City Scouts 4. Montreal Canadiens 4. New York Islanders
5. Los Angeles 5. Minnesota Wild 5. Ottawa Senators 5. New York Rangers
6. Phoenix Coyotes 6. Nashville Predators 6. Quebec Nordiques 6. Pittsburgh Penguins
7. San Jose Sharks 7. St. Louis Blues 7. Tampa Bay Lightning 7. Philadelphia Flyers
8. Vancouver Canucks 8. Winnipeg Jets 8. Toronto Maple Leafs 8. Washington Capitals

 

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 of the conferences nullifies the argument altogether.

• 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.

 

Scheduling:

One of the biggest beefs people have with Gary’s plan is the scheduling confusion. With this new set up we’ve got a more manageable scenario:

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

This leaves us with a 76-game season. I’m not opposed to things being left right here (I’m sure the NHLPA would okay this). But in an effort to keep things more in line with tradition, the last six games would be dealt with like this:

One home and one away with one 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.

As an additional note, I think the NHL should (through thoughtful relocation and expansion) do what it can to get to 32 teams. This seems so much better than the 30-team out-of-balance-ness going on right now. Gary’s job for the foreseeable future should be to find the right 32 cities and get us there.

 

(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 25

NHL Realignment Project - Week 25

Oh Six (Times Six)!

This week on the NHL Realignment Project we once again fool around with the idea that the Original Six deserve their own division/conference/whatever. Unlike last week where we had to contract six teams to get to an divisble-by-six (and still be an even number) to get this to work out in a manageable way, this week we’ve gone the other way… expanded to 36 teams (math still works, see?)

So our new 36-team NHL has two conferences, each made up of 3 divisions… Original Six, Gretzky, Dionne, Hull, Lemieux and Bossy. There’s a bit of a log-jam up in the top-right of the map… but keeping PIT and PHI together and NYI and NJ together is worth the spaghetti-look that we’ve created. Extra bonus, this week for Buffalo fans, you are no longer in a division name for a Hull.

Playoffs would be pretty similar to the current setup, except I’d qualify the top two teams in each division and then have two more next-best-records wildcard teams to round out each conferences 8 playoff qualifiers.

It’s been a while since I’ve referenced it, but for those of you out there ready to argue that there is no way the NHL can go to 36 teams, first, I’d say, “this week’s scenario is admittedly farcical” and if necessary, I’d then invoke the King of North America Defense.

 

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 25

NHL Realignment Map - Week 25

The Breakdown:

EASTERN CONFERENCE:

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

Lemieux Division: Carolina, Florida, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington

Bossy Division: Buffalo, Columbus, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Ottawa, 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!

 

Too tired to think through scheduling scenarios, but with this many teams, I’m thinking that we probably wouldn’t be able to see every team both home and away each season. Perhaps, but like I said to tired to think it through. Other than that… I like this little fantasy. Hope you did too.

 

(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 23

NHL Realignment Project - Week 23

Nationalism, Expanded

Week twenty-three in the NHL Realignment Project is a larger variation on the theme established last week:

I took the two (present-day) countries from each continent that have provided us our leading scorers… Canada/US and Czech Republic/Slovakia. The divisions are named after each of those nation’s leading scorer… Wayne Gretzky, Mike Modano, Jaromir Jagr and Stan Mikita.

We’re going the the same “horizontal divisions” concept, but with four additional teams. The Islanders and Coyotes are back after being dropped last week, and Portland and Quebec City get teams too, bringing us to a 32-team NHL. We divvy up into four divisions of eight teams each… one of which is an all-Canadian affair.

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 23

NHL Realignment Map - Week 23

 

The Breakdown:

Northern Conference

– Gretzky Division: Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg

– Mikita Division: Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Minnesota, New Jersey, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Portland

Southern Conference

–  Jagr Division: Colorado, Columbus, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose, St. Louis, Washington

– Modano Division:  Anaheim, Carolina, Dallas, Florida, Los Angeles, Nashville, Phoenix, Tampa Bay

 

Gained teams:

Portland, Quebec

Lost teams:

none

The Benefits (lots of repetition from last week):

• Respect — Hockey is a global game… and stars from various countries have made the game grow at home and abroad. With these division names, we do a major hat tip to that.

• Division Pride —  Having a division that is “Canada-only”, one that is “all-South”, one that has three of the Original Six, and one that has the leagues two biggest stars (not to mention the most cup-hungry fans (San Jose)) will give each division its own unique brand and identity. The rivalries within each, and the pride across each would be an interesting dynamic to watch.

• Rivalries — I did my best to keep some great rivalries intact. PIT/PHI, NYR/BOS, TOR/MTL, CGY/EDM, ANA/LAK to name a few. I’d build a non-division schedule where everyone played everyone else at least once at home and once away… that way other big rivalries can still live on as well.

• Travel — All four of the divisions have coast-to-coast representation. So everyone is gonna have to travel a bunch.

• Modano Retirement — Since Modo recently retired, I felt it appropriate to hit him up with a shoutout… thanks for making hockey work in Texas… thanks for being a class act… thanks for inspiring us, Mike.

 

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

 

See you next Sunday!

— TF

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