NHL Realignment Project – Week 37

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 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 24

NHL Realignment Project - Week 24

Oh Six!

This week on the NHL Realignment Project we are finally getting around to creating a scenario where the Original Six get their own division. To get this to work out in a more manageable way, we had to do a major contraction of the NHL… down to 24 teams. It was either this or go up to 36 (can you say, “Week 25 foreshadowing?”).

So our new 24-team NHL has four conferences… Original Six, Gretzky, Lemieux and Hull. Each conference would qualify four teams for the playoffs, play down to a conference champion… then we would have a “Final Four” league semi-final where the team with the best regular season record of the four left standing would choose its opponent.

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 24

NHL Realignment Map - Week 24

The Breakdown:

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

Lemieux Conference: Carolina, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington

Hull Conference: Buffalo, Dallas, Minnesota, Ottawa, St. Louis, Winnipeg

Gretzky Conference: Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton, Los Angeles, San Jose, Vancouver

 

Gained teams:

none

 

Lost teams:

Anaheim, Columbus, Florida, Nashville, New York Islanders, Phoenix

 

The Benefits:

• Tradition — The Original Six finally gets the recognition they deserve with their own conference. Major rivalries such as PIT/PHI,  LAK/SJ, EDM/CGY to name a few have been maintained in-conference.

• Travel — Conferences span no more than two time-zones. Eastern and Central Time Zone teams have a minimized slate of games starting super-late because of Pacific Time Zone locations… the same goes for Pacific and Mountain Time Zone teams playing super-early because of Eastern Time Zone locations.

• Talent — Killing off six teams will result in a major uptick in talent level as the surveying teams split the spoils. Ponder and love on this: the term “Top 9 Forward” will come in to use!

 

Scheduling Notes:

36 outside conference (1 home/1 away vs each of the 18 opponents)

40 in-conference (4 home/4 away vs. each of the 5 opponents)

6 extra games outside conference (1 home/1 away vs 3 teams in another conference… to rotate through all 18 non-conference opponents every 6 six years)

 

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

 

See you 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 ».


NHL Realignment Project – Week 22

NHL Realignment Project - Week 22

Nationalism 

Week twenty-two in the NHL Realignment Project has a “country” flavor to it.  The main thing we’re doing differently this week is how we arrived at our honorific division names. The NHL is mostly made up of North American players and European, right? So 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.

In addition to the awesome naming, we’ve gone with a horizontal formatting for dividing up the league. And contracted the two teams that had the lowest average attendance last year (Islanders and Coyotes) to get us to a more divisible 28 teams.

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 22

NHL Realignment Map - Week 22

The Breakdown:

Northern Conference

- Gretzky Division: Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg

- Mikita Division: Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York

Southern Conference

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

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

 

Gained teams:

None

Lost teams:

New York Islanders, Phoenix Coyotes

 

The Benefits:

• 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 four 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 — 3 of the 4 divisions have coast-to-coast representation. So everyone is gonna have to travel a bunch. Only the Mikita Division has just two time-zones represented… but there is a really good chance that in a subsequent (*COUGH* NEXTSUNDAY *COUGH*) NHLRP map, an expansion will remedy this.

• 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 week (gonna try to post every Sunday moving forward, so put it on your calendar)!

— TF

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

 

NHL Realignment Project – Week 21

NHL Realignment Project - Wek 21

Pod Casting – There’s No Place Like Home (and Away)

This week we go to pods for the NHL Realignment Project. The addition of the Seattle Shamrocks and the Quebec Nordiques gets our league’s team count up to (our favorite very divisible number,) 32. In an effort to not only divide the teams up the best, but also put forth a reasonable schedule we’ve opted for breakdown of 2 Conferences each with 4 Divisions which in turn each have a North and South Pod.

We’re going with geographic Conference names and honorific Division names and geographic Pod names. Your purpose as an NHL team in this version of the league is to end up in the top-two positions of your Pod to qualify for the playoffs.

Playoffs would thus continue to be 16 teams and go four rounds, but the rounds would be:

1st round: Pod Championship Series

2nd round: Division Championship Series

3rd round: Conference Championship Series

4th round: Stanley Cup Finals Series

Let’s get to the map:

NHL Realignment Map Week 21

NHL Realignment Map Week 21

 

The Breakdown:

Eastern Conference

- Orr Division

  • North: Boston, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec
  • South: Buffalo, Detroit, New York Rangers, Toronto

- Lemieux Division

  • North: New Jersey, New York Islanders, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
  • South: Carolina, Florida, Tampa Bay, Washington

Western Conference

- Hull Division

  • North: Chicago, Columbus, Minnesota, Winnipeg
  • South: Colorado, Dallas, Nashville, St. Louis

- Gretzky Division

  • North: Calgary, Edmonton, Seattle, Vancouver
  • South: Anaheim, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose

 

Gained teams:

Quebec, Seattle

Lost teams:

None

 

The Benefits:

• Organization — With the magic number of 32 teams, we have more options of dividing teams up… but in addition to that, with divisions AND pods, we now have a system that let’s tighter geographic rivalries flourish and cuts down on the number of times teams have to travel to non-divisional foes. How, you say?…

• Scheduling — Everything in-Division (and thusly, in-Pod) would be based on home-and-away series. Each non-Divisional opponent would be played once at home and once on the road, but not necessarily in the back-to-back format that is generally associated with home-and-home series. Sooooo…

  • Each team would play its three Pod-mates in 3 home-and-home series — 6 games x 3 opponents = 18 games.
  • Additionally, each team would play its four (non-Pod) Division-mates in 2 home-and-home series — 4 games x 4 opponents = 16 games.
  • Finally, each non-Division opponent would be played in 2 games (home and away) — 2 games x 24 opponents = 48 games.

• Records — Since we’ve been able to keep an 82-game schedule (18+16+48=82), records that are already on the books and players current and future attempts to break them are on the same level playing field.

• Rivalries — I’ve done my best to keep as many traditional rivalries intact inside of pods or at least in division (the biggest failure in this regard was breaking up the NYC-area teams… but I’ll try another pod breakdown to keep some/all of them together.

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

 

See you next week (gonna try to post every Sunday moving forward, so put it on your calendar)!

— TF

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

NHL Realignment Project – Week 20

NHL Realignment Project - Week 20

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto

With all the recent talk of NHL Realignment, it’s apparent that it’s a very emotional subject. “It’d be an insult if…”, “How dare they consider the possibility of…”, “If they do that, I swear I’ll…” So this week on the NHL Realignment Project, we take emotion out of the equation and ask ourselves, “WWJD?”… What Would Joshua Do? (For you younglings out there Joshua was the computer program from the 1983 classic motion picture, WarGames… but if that’s too “old and dumb” for you, feel free to swap Joshua out for Iron Man‘s Jarvis… cool?).

Anyhow, the idea is, if a computer program were tasked with dividing the current NHL into six divisions, it would of course plot the centerpoints of all 30 teams on the map and draw a line down the map  that’d leave us with 15 teams on either side of the line… Joshua/Jarvis would designate that line “CDL” for “Central Dividing Line”. Joshua/Jarvis would then (very clinically) slide a line east from the CDL and west from the CDL and create a new divider as each time said line crosses five teams’ centerpoints.

Joshua/Jarvis would name the divisions E1, E2, E3 and W1, W2, W3 with numerals ascending as we travel further East or West of the CDL.

No emotion, no bickering, no pesky honorific division names. Just results.

So here is the map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 20

NHL Realignment Map – Week 20

The Breakdown:

W/W1: Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis

W/W2: Calgary, Colorado, Dallas, Edmonton, Winnipeg

W/W3: Anaheim, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver

E/E1: Buffalo, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Toronto

E/E3: Boston, Montreal, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Washington

E/E2: Carolina, Florida, New Jersey, Ottawa, Philadelphia


Gained teams:

None

Lost teams:

None

 

The Benefits:

• Our mechanical overlords have spoken — Benefits should be obvious. Questioning anything shall result in termination.

 

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

 

See you next week!

— TF

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