NHL Realignment Project – Week 38

NHL Realignment Project - Week 38

Something Old, Something New(s)

My insomnia has served me well this evening. In addition to finally having a moment to finish up this week’s (very late) entry, I’ve gotten wind of the interesting news that sometime on Thursday, a plan for an NBA/NHL arena to be built in Seattle will be revealed. Check the Seattle Times for the story.

Anyhoo, I had planned on going with contraction this week, but this news has forced me to put that off until next week and do yet another realignment scenario with Seattle involved. Toss in the addition of a Salt Lake City team, and we’ve got “something new” covered (even though the city has won a Stanley Cup in the past). I’ve decided to balance out the “newness” with some “oldness”, so we’re giving three former NHL cities a team again. Let’s check the deets…

 

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 38

NHL Realignment Map - Week 38

 

The Breakdown:

Behold! The return of the 4-Confernce NHL! We’re naming them after our old skool division names—Patrick, Adams, Norris, and Smythe. Eight teams in each division giving us a total of 32 teams. For scheduling reasons only, each conference his subdivided into two 4-team scheduling pods. Looking at the map, you’ll see the two pods in each conference separated thin, double-line. This is a rehashing of our genius plan from many weeks back to allow for a smarter, more-balanced, and more travel-freindly schedule. Please do not confuse these scheduling pods for divisions… a teams primary goal in a season is to finish in the top-four in its conference to qualify for the playoffs, pods have nothing to do with standings. Just scheduling… got it? Cool.

Smythe Conference
Calgary Flames Anaheim Ducks
Edmonton Oilers Los Angeles Kings
Seattle Totems San Jose Sharks
Vancouver Canucks Utah Coyotes
Norris Conference
Colorado Avalanche Chicago Blackhawks
Dallas Stars Detroit Red Wings
Minnesota Wild Nashville Predators
Winnipeg Jets St. Louis Blues
Adams Conference
Buffalo Sabres Boston Bruins
Hamilton Tigers Hartford Whalers
Ottawa Senators Montreal Canadiens
Toronto Maple Leafs Quebec Nordiques
Patrick Conference
New Jersey Devils Carolina Hurricanes
New York Rangers Florida Panthers
Philadelphia Flyers Tampa Bay Lightning
Pittsburgh Penguins Washington Capitals

 

Gained Teams:

Seattle, Salt Lake City, Quebec City, Hamilton, Hartford

 

Lost Teams:

Phoenix, New York Islanders, Columbus Blue Jackets

 

The Benefits:

• Geography — In a reasonably decent effort (if I do say so myself), the conferences are pretty geographically sound. The one beef someone might have is the DET/COL jaunt, but if that’s the only two-time-zone jump anyone has to make, I think we’re good… and compared to what the Wings currently deal with, I’m sure they won’t mind. Plus those teams have some nasty history… it’ll be fun.

• Travel — Games outside your conference consist of one home and one away game per team, minimizing the longest of the NHL’s trips. Scheduling pods lessen the longer trips within conference as well. Win-win.

• Rivalries —  We keep CHI/DET, NYR/NJD, PIT/PHI, MTL/BOS, so everyone should be satisfied there. The revived rivalries of BOS/HRT, QBC/MTL and the new rivalries of SEA/VAN and TOR/HML will only serve to make the NHL even awesomer…est.

• Heritage —  C’mon! The division names are awesome. Hockey is special, it’s time the conference names reflected that anew.

 

Scheduling:

In-Conference/In-Pod: 3 home & 3 away vs. 3 teams = 18 games

In-Conference/Non-Pod: 2 home & 2 away vs. 4 teams = 16 games

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

TOTAL = 82 games

 

Playoffs:

Top four teams from each conference qualify for the playoffs.

First and second round of the playoffs determine Conference champions and give us our Final Four.

Final Four team with the best record chooses its opponent for the Semi-final round (will be cool to see what factors will go into this choice—travel distance, least-hot goalie, how tired an opponent might be from previous series, etc.)

Two Semi-finals winners square off in 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 36

NHL Realignment Project - Week 36

Getting Vertical, Eh!

Only a day late this week! Getting better.

So this week we’re not quite as farcical as in the past few weeks, but haven’t completely re-entered the world of “reality-based” realignment either. This week’s theme is all about going Canadian. By relocating some teams and re-jiggering the divisional alignments, we’ve been able to get at least one Canadian team in each division. Let’s have a look at how this plays out.

 

The Map (Complete with goofball division names based on landmarks found at the border):

NHL Realignment Map - Week 36
NHL Realignment Map – Week 36

The Breakdown:

We’re going with the current 2 conferences of 3 divisions each format. The conferences are named for Gretzky and Orr while the division names are a little more fun—they are named for landmarks found at the borders, more-or-less where one might cross to visit the Canadian team(s) in your division… well, if the boys weren’t crossing tens-of-thousands of feet overhead in first-class luxury. This includes border straddling bridges, airports, monuments, etc. Obviously this would never fly, but whatever. Its fun.

The Wayne Douglas Gretzky Conference
Peace Arch Chief Mountain Piney Pinecreek
Anaheim Ducks Calgary Flames Chicago Blackhawks
Los Angeles Kings Colorado Avalanche Dallas Stars
San Jose Sharks Edmonton Oilers Minnesota Wild
Seattle Metropolitans Las Vegas Scorpions St. Louis Blues
Vancouver Canucks Utah Coyotes Winnipeg Jets
The Robert Gordon Orr Conference
Ambassador Thousand Islands Blackpool
Detroit Red Wings Buffalo Sabres Boston Bruins
Florida Panthers Carolina Hurricanes Montreal Canadiens
Nashville Predators Ottawa Senators New Jersey Devils
Tampa Bay Lightning Pittsburgh Penguins New York Rangers
Toronto Maple Leafs Philadelphia Flyers Washington Capitals

Gained Teams:

Seattle, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas

 

Lost Teams:

Phoenix, Long Island, Columbus

 

The Benefits:

• Equality — Every team has to travel to Canada for divisional games (Las Vegas, Colorado and Utah need to do it a little more often… but I wasn’t about to break up the Alberta rivalry). Every division is stretched vertically (the two easternmost a little less, but still somewhat stretchy), so that is reasonably equal as well. All this means that nobody can whine about “Our travel leaves us as a massive disadvantage”. Even previously all alone Colorado gets a fairly near neighbor in the new Salt Lake City franchise.

• Travel — North-South is the way. Divisional games may necessitate long trips, but again, staying within one time-zone 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. All apologies to fans who live for the BUF/TOR games, but somebody has to sacrifice for the good of the league, right?

 

Scheduling:

Divisional Games: 3 home & 3 away vs. 4 teams = 24 games

Non-Divisional Games: 1 home & 1 away vs. 25 teams = 50 games

One additional home-and-away series against a conference opponent from each of the two divisions not your own (a five-year cycle that rotates through the conference) = 4 games

TOTAL = 78 games (bonus: we get to the playoffs quicker)

 

Playoffs:

Same as current format.

(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 ».