NHL Realignment Project – Week 37

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NHL Realignment Project - Week 37

 

West, west, west, west, east

This week we’re adding four new teams to the map west of the Gretzky-Orr line (two via expansion and two via relocation). Just to make sure the eastern side of the map doesn’t feel completely neglected we’ve allowed another relocation to stay within the Orr Conference. The Pacific Northwest has a love of hockey that is untapped and the MLS is showing us that the Vancouver/Seattle/Portland corridor has great fans that love great rivalries with their “neighbors”. Houston and KC round out the central part of our map and Quebec gets the team they deserve. I also threw Columbus a bone, and let them keep their team this week. Let’s check it out.

 

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 37

NHL Realignment Map - Week 37

 

The Breakdown:

We’re going with a 2 conferences of 2 divisions each format. Again, we’ve named the conferences are  for Gretzky and Orr while the division names are our old favorites—Patrick, Adams, Norris, and Smythe. Eight teams in each division giving us a total of 32 teams.

The Wayne Douglas Gretzky Conference
Smythe Division Norris Division
Anaheim Ducks Chicago Blackhawks
Calgary Flames Colorado Avalanche
Edmonton Oilers Dallas Stars
Los Angeles Kings Houston Aeros
Portland Eagles Kansas City Scouts
San Jose Sharks Minnesota Wild
Seattle Totems St. Louis Blues
Vancouver Canucks Winnipeg Jets
The Robert Gordon Orr Conference
Patrick Division Adams Division
Buffalo Sabres Boston Bruins
Columbus Blue Jackets Carolina Hurricanes
Detroit Red Wings Montreal Canadiens
Nashville Predators New Jersey Devils
Philadelphia Flyers New York Rangers
Pittsburgh Penguins Ottawa Senators
Tampa Bay Lightning Quebec Nordiques
Toronto Maple Leafs Washington Capitals

Gained Teams:

Seattle, Portland, Kansas City, Houston, Quebec City

 

Lost Teams:

Miami, Long Island, Phoenix

 

The Benefits:

• Geography — Like last week, every team has to travel to Canada for divisional games. Every division is stretched vertically (the two easternmost a little less, but still very stretchy), so that is reasonably equal as well. All this means that nobody can whine about “Our travel leaves us at a massive disadvantage”.

• Travel — Once again, North-South is the way. Divisional games may necessitate long trips, but again, staying within your time zone or only having to travel one over makes all the difference for player fatigue and for TV ratings.

• Rivalries —  Though we lose CHI/DET, we do get TOR/DET… not bad. The NYR/NJD, the Alberta teams, Pennsylvania teams, and BOS/MTL all stay together too, so check that off your list. New teams give us great rivalries too, SEA/POR/VAN, DAL/HOU, KC/STL

• Heritage —  C’mon! The division names are awesome. Hockey is special, now the conference and division names reflect that.

 

Scheduling:

Divisional Games: 3 home & 3 away vs. 7 teams = 42 games

Non-Divisional Games: 1 home & 1 away vs. 24 teams = 48 games

TOTAL = 90 games—yay, more hockey.

 

Playoffs:

Top three from each division qualify, plus next two best records from the conference (as wildcards).

Division Champs seeded 1 & 2, based on record. All other qualifiers seeded 3-8, based on record (so yes, a wildcard can have a higher seed than a top-three qualifier. This keeps the regular season more interesting and division-focused, as finishing top-three is the first ticket into the playoffs. Wildcard is just a backdoor option to keep things a little fair for 4th and 5th placed teams in a division who is having “a super-stacked-with-awesomeness year”.

Once qualification happens (division-centric), other than division champions getting 1 & 2, it’s all about your record for seeding (conference-centric). This way we are more likely to avoid a “two-best-teams-meeting-too-early-in-the-playoffs scenario”.

(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 31

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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 ».


NHL Realignment Project – Week 23

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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 ».