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 ».


 

Report: Phoenix Coyotes sale nearly complete to Greg Jamison; NHL team to stay in Glendale | Puck Daddy – Yahoo! Sports

Just what the folks in Seattle, Kansas City and Quebec City didn’t want to hear… Hey, there’s always the Islanders.

Report: Phoenix Coyotes sale nearly complete to Greg Jamison; NHL team to stay in Glendale | Puck Daddy – Yahoo! Sports ».

NHL Realignment Project – Week 39

NHL Realignment Project - Week 39

Simply Seattle

On time this week!

As much as a lot of us would like to see the NHL contract to 28 teams, the reality is it’d take a massive collapse in league-wide revenues for that to happen… not to mention that Heavy G and the Boyz™ (Gary Bettman and the Board of Governors) will pretty much do anything to avoid the egg-on-face press conference to admit that the league is overextended and that contraction is the only solution). Put bluntly, this isn’t going to happen. So franchise moves from  city to city and/or expansion are the only reality-based changes that the NHL will be seeing anytime soon. With this in mind, I’m gonna be sticking with “actually possible” scenarios for the next few weeks. (I’ll do a sensible contraction scenario soon enough, don’t worry).

With the Seattle arena thing still in the news we’re gonna run with the very viable scenario of the only change in the NHL for 2012-13, team-wise would be a relocation of the Phoenix Coyotes franchise from their home in the desert to the Pacific Northwest’s Emerald City, Seattle. (NOTE: Yes, I am aware of the fact that there has been a bit of buzz around a potential Coyotes buyer being approved by the league (meaning they approve of him to potentially buy the team, not they have approved the sale itself), but we’ll deal with the implications of that next week). So let’s look at a PHX-to-SEA move.

 

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 39

NHL Realignment Map – Week 39

The Breakdown:

Those of you who are fans of the current league set-up will (mostly) love this. We’re sticking with the two conferences, made up of three 5-team divisions set-up that has been the league’s preference since 1998 (aside: see sixteenwins‘ infographic on all of the league’s realignments over the years). Of all the realistic scenarios based on the current format, this is probably my favorite… not to mention one I wouldn’t be surprised seeing implemented (at least until expansion or the Islanders, Panthers, Jackets, Lightning, and/or Hurricanes throw a wrench into the works).

Seattle’s addition means there are actually five teams in the Pacific time zone (and on/near the Pacific Ocean for that matter), so that makes that division name make sense for the first time ever. Peeling Vancouver away from the two Alberta teams will undoubtedly ruffle some feathers, but replacing them with a rival in an amazing city only a three-ish hour bus ride away from their home makes up for it. Pulling Dallas out of the Pacific and Winnipeg out of the Southeast rounds out the “sensible” moves we’re implementing. Detroit’s yearning to be in the Eastern Conference has unfortunately not been appeased, but hopefully a smarter scheduling will make them a little less sad).

 

The Wayne Douglas Gretzky Conference
Pacific Mountain West Central
Anaheim Ducks Calgary Flames Chicago Blackhawks
Los Angeles Kings Colorado Avalanche Dallas Stars
San Jose Sharks Edmonton Oilers Detroit Red Wings
Seattle Totems Minnesota Wild Nashville Predators
Vancouver Canucks Winnipeg Jets St. Louis Blues
The Robert Gordon Orr Conference
Northeast Atlantic Southeast
Boston Bruins New Jersey Devils Carolina Panthers
Buffalo Sabres New York Islanders Columbus Blue Jackets
Montreal Canadiens New York Rangers Florida Panthers
Ottawa Senators Philadelphia Flyers Tampa Bay Lightning
Toronto Maple Leafs Pittsburgh Penguins Washington Capitals

 

Gained Teams:

none

 

Lost Teams:

none

 

(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 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 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 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 ».


NHL Realignment Project – Week 34

NHL Realignment Project - Week 34

So Long, Sunshine and Buckeye States

Only a day late, this week! Not too shabby.

Today we’re gonna take a break from solving the league’s (and the association’s) problems… since they don’t want to have the problems solved to begin with. Week 34 is back into “what if” mode (a.k.a. “Tom, you’re an idiot, that’ll never happen”). The structure stays as it currently is in the NHL, but the Florida and Ohio teams have been moved. In doing so, we’ve minimized much of the “outliers” and created divisions that are a lot more sensible then they currently are—”Pacific” Division, I’m looking at you. Oh, and the Phoenix Coyotes survived this week… thought I’d cut ’em a break.

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 34

NHL Realignment Map - Week 34

The Breakdown:

Just what the NHL/PA have decided we’re gonna be stuck with for a while—two conferences of three divisions each.

The Wayne Douglas Gretzky Conference
Northwest Division Southwest Division Central Division
Calgary Flames Anaheim Ducks Chicago Blackhawks
Edmonton Oilers Colorado Avalanche Dallas Stars
Portland Eagles Los Angeles Kings Minnesota Wild
Seattle Metropolitans Phoenix Coyotes St. Louis Blues
Vancouver Canucks San Jose Sharks Winnipeg Jets
The Robert Gordon Orr Conference
Great Lakes Division Northeast Division Southeast Division
Buffalo Sabres Boston Bruins Carolina Hurricanes
Detroit Red Wings Montreal Canadiens Nashville Predators
Hamilton Tigers New Jersey Devils Pittsburgh Penguins
Ottawa Senators New York Islanders Philadelphia Flyers
Toronto Maple Leafs New York Rangers Washington Capitals

Gained teams:

Seattle, Portland, Hamilton

 

Lost teams:

Florida, Tampa Bay, Columbus

 

The Benefits:

• Travel — It’s not perfect, but at least there are no crazy “Dallas and Minnesota traveling two time zones for a divisional game” scenarios. Divisions are pretty much as compact as they can been given the realities of geography. Obviously the 15 western-most teams have to travel more, compared to what some of them currently do, I’m sure many would say this is pretty damn good.

• The Detroit Problem — Detroit finally gets their wish of moving East. Columbus did too… unfortunately for CBJ fans, they moved East AND North… to Hamilton.

• Cohesive Northwest — Moving the Florida teams to the Pacific Northwest instantly makes the Northwest Division infinitely more interesting and sensible… Seattle and Portland is far more likely to become what we hoped Tampa/Miami would become they they actually did become (at least the Lightning won a Cup, though).

• Rivalries —  Though we lose CHI/DET, we do get TOR/DET… not bad. The NYC-area teams, the Alberta teams, Pennsylvania teams, and BOS/MTL all stay together too, so check that off your list.

 

Not even gonna bother with scheduling or playoffs this week. I like my solution from last week so much, I’m just gonna bask in that glory for a while longer.

 

(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

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 ».