NHL Realignment Project – Week 51

 

NHL Realignment Project - Week 51

A More Balanced East

Last week’s realignment got a little feedback on here and on Twitter that despite my best efforts, a few to many important rivalries got split up. Consider this week’s map a tweak of last week’s. While of course there is no silver bullet that will please all people and teams (hence this blog’s slogan “endless possibilities, no consensus), I think this is the best addressing of rivalries of the entire project thus far. An additional by-product of the tweaks is a more balanced set of teams in the two conferences on the east side of the map. Havalook:

The Map:

NHL Realignment Project - Week 51

NHL Realignment Project – Week 51

The Breakdown:

Once again, this week’s re-imagined league continues to use the NHL’s four-conference breakdown proposed last year. I’ve gone with the common names of the Stanley Cup winning teams from Seattle and Quebec—the Metropolitans and Bulldogs respectively. Side note: the Quebec Stanley Cup champs were only informally knowns as the Bulldogs, they were officially the Quebec Hockey Club at the time. I’m not advocating these names, my preference would be to let people from each of the cities vote on names vetted presented by the two franchises… none of that “let the people submit names for voting or using something hip at the time that will seem stupid in a couple of years” crap — I’m looking at you, Toronto RAPTORS! *facepalm* But for the map this week, I just when with the Metropolitans and the Bulldogs.

Again, conference names are an homage to the greatest players (arguably, of course) in the history of the teams of that conference. Gretzky (Oilers and Kings); Howe (Red Wings); Orr (Bruins); Lemieux (Penguins).

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

 

Gained teams:

Seattle, Quebec City

 

Lost teams:

none

 

The Benefits:
• Rivalries — Like I mentioned earlier in this post, with reader inputs I’ve done my best work so far in keeping 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 Howe Conference teams could evolve into good rivalries too, like Dallas and Nashville. 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. Oh, and Detroit and Colorado are together now… you’re welcome.

• Travel — Four conferences cut down on travel for the teams that currently have the heaviest burden (mainly Dallas, Winnipeg, Minnesota). Some of the teams with the light travel burdens right now add a little more (looking at you Lemieux Conference), but are still in much better shape than the  frequent-flier champs out west. The only teams that have to got beyond one additional time zone for any in-conference game are the aforementioned Red Wings and Avalanche… and just to play each other. With that hatred, they won’t mind a bit.

• 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 (where are Richard, Kennedy Plante, Hull, Bossy, Smith, Lafleur, etc.)

Erin Andrews — With both her faves in one conference (The Lightning and the Rangers), we can only expect more tweets, mentions and other additional exposure to the Queen of All Media (Oprah retired). I welcome all of it.

 

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 and play 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 50

 

Bulldogs and Metropolitans

This week’s realignment is somewhat inspired by the “Lords of the Stanley Cup” infographic I did last week. In expanding to a 32-team league (which is something most believe the NHL will do soon), I picked the larger two cities of the four that have had Stanley Cup championships in the past, but no longer have teams: Seattle and Quebec City (the other two are Victoria, BC and Kenora, ON, in case you’re curious). This idea is also reinforced by the poll we’ve got running showing those two cities being the ones with the highest support for NHL expansion (yes, I know it’s not scientific, and no, I don’t think I am Nate Silver or anything).

This is no far-fetched scenario, with Markham’s arena deal hitting the skids lately, this may actually be the way things turn out.

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 50

NHL Realignment Map – Week 50

 

The Breakdown:

This week’s re-imagined league continues to use the NHL’s four-conference breakdown proposed last year. I’ve gone with the common names of the Stanley Cup winning teams from Seattle and Quebec—the Metropolitans and Bulldogs respectively. Side note: the Quebec Stanley Cup champs were only informally knowns as the Bulldogs, they were officially the Quebec Hockey Club at the time. Conference names are an homage to the greatest players (arguably, of course) in the history of the teams of that conference. Gretzky (Oilers and Kings); Howe (Red Wings); Orr (Bruins); Kennedy (Maple Leafs).

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

 

Gained teams:

Seattle, Kansas City, Quebec City

 

Lost teams:

none

 

The Benefits:
• Media — With one conference boasting all eight members as previous Stanley Cup winners, we might score a bit of a running narrative for TV/print/electronic media to latch on to. Kind of like the SEC has in college football now. The teams in the Orr will obviously hate each other a ton, but will have a strange kinship in that there’s is the only conference with the “all champs” distinction. This “better than the rest” attitude will further fuel this 8 teams efforts, and more importantly fuel the other three conferences to step up and dethrone them… just like the Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac 12 do in the NCAA.

• Rivalries — Once again, I’ve 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 Howe Conference teams could evolve into good rivalries too, like Dallas and Nashville. 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. Oh, and Detroit and Colorado are together now… you’re welcome.

• Travel — Four conferences cut down on travel for the teams that currently have the heaviest burden (mainly Dallas, Winnipeg, Minnesota). Some of the teams with the light travel burdens right now add a little more (looking at you Kennedy Conference), but are still in much better shape than the frequent-flier champs out west. The only teams that have to got beyond one additional time zone for any in-conference game are the aforementioned Red Wings and Avalanche… and just to play each other. With that hatred, they won’t mind a bit.

• 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 (where are Richard, Plante, Hull, 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 and play 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 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 48

NHL Realignment Project - Week 48

Week 48 – Gary’s Dream?

Once again, this week we add a little expansion to our NHL realignment talk. Despite some hiccups in Markham, it is not hard to imagine the NHL expanding into the Greater Toronto Area and back into Quebec City in the near future and collecting some mega-huge expansion fees. While Quebec City is much further along in the process (as evidenced by the recently released arena plans), I don’t doubt that we will soon(ish) see an NHL team in Markham. I think that the combination of  GTA’s hockey-mad population, the win-win situation for the Toronto Maple Sports & Entertainment’s majority owners (media companies Rogers Communications and Bell Canada) and most importantly, the plethora of corporate sponsorship opportunities will all combine to get the deal done.

With all this in mind, let’s try to get inside of Gary Bettman’s brain for a bit. Believe or not, Gary Bettman is a human being, and humans actually care about the mark they leave on this world. Gary probably enjoys the (*GASP*) positive vibe he gets from Winnipeg born from the happiness that they have an NHL team again. So let’s not be surprised if his next few major moves after this unbelievably negative one (lockout number three), end up being some lay-ups of positivity:

Gary’s job is to do what’s best for the owners he represents so of course, he is interested in the windfall of cash that two new expansion teams represents. But any good will that Gary might get will come from selecting cities that have hockey history for that expansion. The aforementioned Quebec City and GTA are no-brainers for this.

Along those same lines, moving the team in limbo, Phoenix Coyotes to Seattle where (like QC) there is a new arena on the way and there is actually a history of hockey, will write another positive chapter in Gary’s book (just don’t talk to the fans in Phoenix or Atlanta).

Let’s make one additional assumption to complete our Professor X job on Gary’s noodle—we can tell by the short-lived NHL realignment that the Board of Governors proposed last year, that 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.While there will be lots of pissed off folks at first, especially if the playoff format proposed happens, eventually a very profitable league in (mostly) very receptive cities with tons of rivalry goodness will equal a (mostly) satisfied fan base and successful league.

What more can any commissioner want?

 

The Map

NHL Realignment Map - Week 48

NHL Realignment Map – Week 48

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
Dallas Stars
Detroit Red Wings
Minnesota Wild
Nashville Predators
St. Louis Blues
Winnipeg Jets
ORR CONFERENCE
Boston Bruins
Buffalo Sabres
Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators
Quebec Tempest
Toronto Legacy
Toronto Maple Leafs
Washinton Capitals
LEMIEUX CONFERENCE
Carolina Hurricanes
Florida Panthers
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
Philadelphia Flyers
Pittsburgh Penguins
Tampa Bay Lightning

 

Gained teams:

Seattle, Toronto (Markham), 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.

• Travel — Four conferences cut down on travel for the teams that currently have the heaviest burden. Teams with the lightest travel burdens right now add a little more, but are still in much better shape than the frequent-flier champs.

• Cold Belt — Unlike his previous efforts at expansion, Gary’s next moves put teams in historically hockey-centric markets. Couple that with moving Phoenix to Seattle, another city with hockey history, and we’re in a better place overall as a league in my opinion.

 

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 (4 teams) pair up the the other half 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 47

NHL Realignment Project - Week 47

La Key en Rose

Hello again, everyone. After a verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry long hiatus, I’m back with another reshaping of the NHL.

First, all apologies for going dark for so many months. Business is picking up over in the real world, so unlike the NHL and the PA, I’m working a lot these days. Another reason I’ve placed my attention elsewhere is the fact that Mrs. Fulery and I are expecting our first child soon and that really takes over your life… so far in a very good way.

Besides, not much has happened in hockey since I went away anyways, right? 😛

This week we look at a scenario that involves two cities losing their teams (one unlikely and the other definitely possible) to two cities that are in the Pacific Northwest. Both have arenas that can hold hockey (one well (The Rose Garden) and one not well at all (Key Arena)). While we’re much more likely to see teams in Quebec City or Markham before Portland, this would be a fun scenario for this WHL-centric part of the world.

 

The Map

NHL Realignment Map - Week 47

NHL Realignment Map – Week 47

The Breakdown:

This week’s re-imagined league brings back one of my favorite breakdowns — two conferences, each made up of five divisions of three teams.

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Northwest Division
Portland Coyotes
Seattle Metros
Vancouver Canucks
Southwest Division
Anaheim Ducks
Los Angeles Kings
San Jose Sharks
Mountain Division
Calgary Flames
Colorado Avalanche
Edmonton Oilers
Lakes Division
Chicago Blackhawks
Minnesota Wild
Winnipeg Jets
Central Division
Dallas Stars
Nashville Predators
St. Louis Blues
EASTERN CONFERENCE
Niagra Division
Buffalo Sabres
Detroit Red Wings
Toronto Maple Leafs
Liberty Division
Philadelphia Flyers
Pittsburgh Penguins
Washington Capitals
Southeast Division
Carolina Hurricanes
Florida Panthers
Tampa Bay Lightning
Northeast Division
Boston Bruins
Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators
Empire Division
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
New York Rangers

 

Gained teams:

Seattle, Portland

 

Lost teams:

Phoenix, Columbus

 

The Benefits:

• Focus — With more divisions, the main focus of an NHL team’s season is to win its division to guarantee it’s spot in the playoffs. Beat the other two teams in your division and your in. If you don’t, you still have three wildcard slots to shoot for, so its not an “all or nothing” situation, but its a lot closer… and hopefully more exciting.

• Rivalries — As an addendum to the last point, the other two teams in your division will become such hated rivals, that all games against them will be insanely great. Even when you team is in a bit of a slight swoon, you still have something to play for… just beat the two main rivals a lot and a playoff chance is a good bet.

• Travel — With Detroit now in the Eastern Conference, and Dallas and Winnipeg playing in divisions that actually make sense for their geographic locations, travel will be the last thing teams can complain about… not that that will stop ’em.

Scheduling:

Each team plays:

– against its two division-mates four times at home and four times on the road each:
 8 games x 2 teams = 16 games

– against the teams in the other divisions within the conference once at home and once on the road:
2 games x 12 teams = 24 games

– an additional home-and-home series agains the teams of two of the divisions within the conference (flips to the the other two divisions within conference each year):
2 games x 6 teams = 12 games

– against its fifteen non-conference opponents once at home and once on the road:
2 games x 15 teams = 30 games
16 + 24 + 12 + 30 = 82 game season

Playoffs:

• Top team from each division qualifies (Seeded 1-5 based on overall record)

• Three best records amongst non-division winners qualify as wildcards (Seeded 6-8 based on overall record).

• Pairings/home-ice reset to match seedings after each round

• All best-of-seven series (I don’t want sixteenwins.com to have to change their name)

Acknowledgements:

Again, I can’t imagine Portland would skip ahead of some of the other oft-mentioned cities for NHL franchises (Quebec City and Markham particularly), but it would create such an amazing crucible of hate in the Portland-Seattle-Vancouver corridor, I wouldn’t argue against it. If the NHL expands to 32 teams in the future (most think that is the ultimate goal) it would be great if the Pacific Northwest was a part of it… and it would be a far less-risky enterprise than Gary’s 90s push for sunbelt hockey.

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

The Latest on the Phoenix Coyotes Sale

Phoenix Coyotes - Could this be true?

Looking more and more like a done deal. Can you believe it. If so, next up in the “deal with it” department, the New York Islanders. People of Quebec City and Seattle are not happy with this news for sure… don’t scoff at the idea of expansion in two years though. I wouldn’t be surprised… and to those who say, “Expansion?! With what talent?”, I answer you with another question, “Do you honestly think the league or the NHLPA give a puck about that?”

The latest on the PHX sitch from around the web:

 

The Sporting News:

http://aol.sportingnews.com/nhl/story/2012-05-07/phoenix-coyotes-sale-complete-at-last-announcement-expected »

 

USA Today:

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/nhl/coyotes/story/2012-05-07/phoenix-coyotes-sale-announcement/54801608/1 »

 

AZCentral.com:

http://www.azcentral.com/community/glendale/articles/2012/05/07/20120507glendale-phoenix-coyotes-sale-announcement-brk.html

 

Phoenix Business Journal:

http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/morning_call/2012/05/nhl-to-announce-phoenix-coyotes-deal.html »

 

Associated Press (via Yahoo!):

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/ap-source-announcement-expected-coyotes-173802283–nhl.html;_ylt=Asb9rksKdxHFVw8tGHgOk5k5nYcB »

 

 

Phoenix Coyotes sale could be finalized next week – Phoenix Business Journal

Yet another “breaking news” story from the “PHX sale”. The more I read about the City Council and the Goldwater institute, the less I think this is a “close to done” as some think.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the sale were to be “completed”, but then Glendale and the Goldwater boys just throw more roadblocks up. If that happened, I think the NHL would close the book on the NHL/PHX story, and either one of two things would happen:

– The Jamison group would back out (and another group would swoop in quickly and buy and move the team)

– The Jamison group would still buy the team (a little later), with a plan in place to move the team to a new city with a cushy arena deal.

 

Phoenix Coyotes sale could be finalized next week – Phoenix Business Journal.

Coyotes win as Glendale Council pledges more money | azfamily.com Phoenix

Yet another Coyotes update. Looking more and more like the desert dogs are staying put.

—TF

 

Coyotes win as Glendale Council pledges more money | azfamily.com Phoenix ».

NHL Realignment Project – Week 46

NHL Realignment Project - Week 46

Olé… Olé, Olé, Olé!

Listen up all you hooligans out there. This week we’re doing something that ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY NEVER WOULD HAPPEN in the NHL (or NBA, NFL, MLB or pretty much any other North American professional sports league). We are instituting a system of relegation and promotion… just like in most of the global soccer leagues out there.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this (very normal everywhere else) system, the premise is simple: There are multiple “league levels” of the sport in question, then at the end of each season, a certain number of teams from each league level either drop to the next level down (relegation) or move up to the next level up (promotion) based on standings (or the “table” if you wanted to go with the established vernacular).

To set up our fictitious NHL, we are take the 30 teams of the NHL and the  30 teams of the AHL and combine them into our system. Using the records at the end of the 2011-12 campaigns, we take the top 20 teams of the NHL and create our “Premier League”. The other 10 NHL teams joint the 10 best AHL teams to make up the “Alpha League”. The remaining 20 AHL teams make up the “Beta League”.

Now that our leagues are set up, we put in place our promotion/relegation rules moving forward. At the end of every regular season, the bottom for teams of the Premier League drop down to the Alpha League, with a  corresponding promotion of the top four teams in the Alpha League to the Premier League. Same goes for the bottom of the Alpha and the top of the Beta. Simple, right?

Simple in theory, almost impossible to map. It took me for-friggin-ever to put this one together. Hence the lateness of this post (I’m a full week behind on my “weekly” update to the NHLRP now). Let’s look at the insanity:

 

The Map

NHL Realignment Map - Week 46

NHL Realignment Map - Week 46

 

The Breakdown:

60-team “super league” broken down into three 20-team hockey leagues — NHL Premier, NHL Alpha, NHL Beta. At the end of each regular season, the bottom 4 teams in Premier and Alpha are relegated to the next league below (Alpha and Beta, respectively). Conversely, the top 4 teams in Alpha and Beta are promoted to the next league above (Premier and Alpha, respectively). Playoffs happen for the top 16 teams in the Premier League (Stanley Cup) and the top 16 in the Alpha league (Calder Cup). Playoff results do not affect promotion positioning/status. Promotion is based purely regular season records. NHL Beta has no Cup-style knock-out playoffs.

NHL Premier
Team Former League
Boston Bruins NHL
Buffalo Sabres NHL
Calgary Flames NHL
Chicago Blackhawks NHL
Colorado Avalanche NHL
Dallas Stars NHL
Detroit Red Wings NHL
Florida Panthers NHL
Los Angeles Kings NHL
Nashville Predators NHL
New Jersey Devils NHL
New York Rangers NHL
Ottawa Senators NHL
Philadelphia Flyers NHL
Phoenix Coyotes NHL
Pittsburgh Penguins NHL
St. Louis Blues NHL
San Jose Sharks NHL
Vancouver Canucks NHL
Washington Capitals NHL

 

NHL Alpha
Team Former League
Abbottsford Heat AHL
Anaheim Ducks NHL
Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL
Carolina Hurricanes NHL
Chicago Wolves AHL
Columbus Blue Jackets NHL
Edmonton Oilers NHL
Hershey Bears AHL
Milwaukee Admirals AHL
Minnesota Wild NHL
Montreal Canadiens NHL
New York Islanders NHL
Norfolk Admirals AHL
Oklahoma City Barons AHL
St. John’s Ice Caps AHL
Tampa Bay Lightning NHL
Toronto Marlies AHL
Toronto Maple Leafs NHL
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins AHL
Winnipeg Jets NHL

 

NHL Beta
Team Former League
Adirondack Phantoms AHL
Albany Devils AHL
Binghamton Senators AHL
Charlotte Checkers AHL
Connecticut Whale AHL
Grand Rapids Griffins AHL
Hamilton Bulldogs AHL
Houston Aeros AHL
Lake Erie Monsters AHL
Manchester Monarchs AHL
Peoria Rivermen AHL
Portland Pirates AHL
Providence Bruins AHL
Rochester Americans AHL
Rockford IceHogs AHL
San Antonio Rampage AHL
Springfield Falcons AHL
Syracuse Crunch AHL
Texas Stars AHL
Worcester Sharks AHL

 

 

Gained teams:

Every AHL city is now considered part of the NHL.

 

Lost teams:

Technically, no one. But the 10 current NHL markets that will now host NHL Alpha teams are: Anaheim, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Columbus, Long Island, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Carolina.

 

The Benefits:

• Opportunity — Teams in smaller markets with no hope of ever attracting an NHL team (either through relocation or expansion) would, in theory be able to earn their way up the food chain and get a shot at the Stanley Cup.

• Opportunity II — Cities that could probably do well with and NHL team (Seattle, Portland, Quebec City, Hamilton, Kansas City, Hartford, Las Vegas, Salt Lake) could find it easier to lure a team to there cities… by competing to convince Beta teams to relocate to their cities/arenas instead of jumping straight into the NHL (or Premier League, as it were). Once a team was in place, then the task would be to move up to Alpha and eventually Premier.

• Fan protection — Speaking of relocation… I’d ban any Premier or Alpha team from relocating to another city. If you’re good enough to be in the two most elite divisions, your fans deserve to know that their team won’t be stolen from them and moved to another city. Owners/GMs that engineered choke jobs to drive a team down into the Beta League just to relocate, would lose so much money in the process, it’d probably not be worth it.

Regular season awesomeness — Since promotion and relegation are based on regular season standings, not on playoff performance, the regular season has a whole hell of a lot of importance… top to bottom. Maybe this is the way to make the regular season as exciting as the regular season is in College Football.

Scheduling:

Each team plays every other team twice at home and twice on the road: 4 games x 19 teams = 76 games

Playoffs (Premier and Alpha):

• Top 16 teams qualify.

• 1 vs 16, 2 vs 15, 3 vs 14, etc.

• reseed after every round

• Premier League champion earns Stanley Cup

• Alpha League champion earns Calder Cup

• Since promotion is a regular season reward

Acknowledgements:

Just to reiterate: this will never, can never, should never happen. This was just for fun. As a fan of Brazilian Soccer (Galo!) I’ve often wondered how relegation might look in a North American league.

Some of the major issues here are:

– The AHL and NHL teams have affiliations with each other and often, the same owners.

– The NHL Draft would be a cluster if 60 teams were involved, I’m guessing.

– Travel would be a nightmare during the playoffs if geography was not part of the equation.

– Rivalries are the lifeblood of the league. This effectively kills them.

 

As always, thanks for reading, and don’t forget to use the sharing buttons to spread the word.

 

—Tom

Could Seattle even support new NBA and NHL teams? | Seattle PI Sports Blog – seattlepi.com

Not sure I agree 100% with the purely even division of population to sports teams (not apples to apples, when a city doesn’t have team from a “less popular” league like the WNBA or the MLS), but I like the concept. Interesting stuff.

—TF

Could Seattle even support new NBA and NHL teams? | Seattle PI Sports Blog – seattlepi.comn »