NHL Realignment Project – Week 17

NHL Realignment Project - Week 17

Champions League (Version 2)

As some of you geniuses may have figured out by the title of last week’s post, we are doing a variation this week instead of a full-on new idea. Things are super-busy at work right now, and this is the way we’re gonna go. Gotta pay the bills… what can you do?

So this week, our league, comprised of only Stanley Cup Winning teams, is divided by a horizontal demarcation line. Orr to the north and Howe to the south. It seems a little more fair than last week’s option since there is at least a little less travel discrepancy between the two conferences.

NHL Realignment Map - Week 17

NHL Realignment Map - Week 17

 

The Breakdown:

Howe Conference: Anaheim, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh

Orr Conference: Boston, Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Toronto

 

Gained teams:

None

Lost teams:

Vancouver, San Jose, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Winnipeg, Minnesota, St. Louis, Buffalo, Columbus, Nashville, Florida, Washington

 

The Benefits:

• Talent — Whoa nelly! My math may be off, but wouldn’t cutting 40% of the teams out of the NHL mean we’d be leaving the bottom 40% of the talent out of the league too? It’d be like my fantasy league (speaking of, we’re desperate for people to join). Basically we’d have an All-Star Game level of talent, but with checks.

• Amazingly Historical Match-ups in the Stanley Cup Finals (potentially) — Lots of potential for old school finals. Lots and lots of potential for never-before-seen finals matchups. Lots of potential for Canadian teams to be in the finals.

• Tradition — When the league is made up of only teams that have won it all, tradition is pretty much built in (*cough cough* tampadallascarolinaanaheim? *cough*)

 

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

 

Check back next week for a bigger vision of this concept!

— TF

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

NHL Realignment Project – Week 16

NHL Realignment Project - Week 16
Champions League (Version 1)

Just like, last week, we’re gonna go into contraction mode again. But we’re pushing it much further this time. In this, the sixteenth week of the NHL Realignment Project, we’re going to contract the NHL to only the current teams that have already won the Stanley Cup (yes, I know the NHL doesn’t recognize the current Ottawa Senators to be the same as the original, actually-has-won-the-cup team, but I wanted to make it an even split, so I let it slide). That leaves us with eighteen teams. So does that mean all but two teams in the league make the playoffs? My answer to that riddle is a very scientific and well thought out one: “Sure, why not?”

Here’s the map with the divisional breakdown (2 Conferences, no divisions):

NHL Realignment Map - Week 16

NHL Realignment Map - Week 16

The Breakdown:

Gretzky Conference: Anaheim, Calgary, Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Pittsburgh, Toronto

Orr Conference: Boston, Carolina, Montreal, Ottawa, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay

 

Gained teams:

None

Lost teams:

Vancouver, San Jose, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Winnipeg, Minnesota, St. Louis, Buffalo, Columbus, Nashville, Florida, Washington

 

The Benefits:

• Talent — Whoa nelly! My math may be off, but wouldn’t cutting 40% of the teams out of the NHL mean we’d be leaving the bottom 40% of the talent out of the league too? It’d be like my fantasy league (speaking of, we’re desperate for people to join). Basically we’d have an All-Star Game level of talent, but with checks.

• Amazingly Historical Match-ups in the Stanley Cup Finals (potentially) — The Original Six Teams have been divided evenly between the two Conferences. So lots of potential for old school finals. Not to mention the potential for a Pittsburgh/Philadelphia final. I don’t know if Pennsylvania would survive that, actually.

• Tradition — When the league is made up of only teams that have won it all, tradition is pretty much built in (*cough cough* tampadallascarolinaanaheim? *cough*)

 

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

 

Check back for version 2 of this concept next week!

— TF

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


NHL Realignment Project – Week 6

NHL Realignment Project — Week Six

Week 6 – Get Real, Take Two!

Thanks to a busy holiday weekend (and thinking about last week’s map a bit more), I’ve just tweaked the previous map a bit for NRP Week 6.

Sticking with the geographic names for the four divisions like last week. Unlike the previous edition, we’ve unbalanced the East and West. 16 of the 30 teams are Eastern Conference teams now. Columbus joins the Red Wings over in the East leaving 14 teams in the West. This is a very distinct possibility in the real world. We’ll see if Gary & Co. have the grapes to do this, though. I’d be cool with it.

NHL Realignment Map - Week 6

NHL Realignment Map - Week Six

Gained teams:

None

Lost teams:

None (Now, wouldn’t that be great?)

Benefits:

• Nobody loses their team — The anguish that Quebec, Atlanta and until recently, Winnipeg and Minnesota fans felt are nowhere to be seen in this scenario. Yay!

• Less travel — With teams in three of the four divisions never having to leave their time zone for divisional games (and Mountain-West teams only having to, at most, travel one time-zone over), the frequent flyer miles haven’t seen such little use since the Original Six days.

• Detroit and Columbus outta the West — Wings finally get their long-standing wish. For good measure, Columbus gets their wish too.

• Room for expansion — I know that the NHL says they have no expansion plans for now, but even in this “reality-based scenario”, a healthy  league can easily grow into two more markets and reach the sports-nirvana of 32-teams. This set up of 16 teams in the East bodes well for westward expansion (we’re looking at you Las Vegas, Seattle, Portland, Houston, Kansas City, Salt Lake City). Conversely, this bodes ill for Hamilton and Quebec City… who knows, maybe I’ll have a 36-team league in a future installment, and everyone can be happy!

(h/t to oilersnation.com for the original map)

Hasta la proxima semana!

— TF


 

NHL Realignment Project – Week 5

NHL Realignment Project — Week Five

Week 5 – Get Real!

In this week’s edition, we’re gonna (temporarily) toss out my King Of North America Defense, and be realistic with the realignment. Word’s be going around in the last few days that the NHL is already looking into 2012 realignment and that the four-division set up is probably going to make it’s triumphant return. Woot!

In the spirit of this news, I’m gonna stick with all the teams as they currently stand, and just realign to four divisions with names that might actually happen. With geographic division names, I’d love to get homage naming into the conferences (if conferences even exist).

NHL Realignment Map - Week 5

NHL Realignment Map - Week Five

Gained teams:

None

Lost teams:

None (Now, wouldn’t that be great?)

Benefits:

• Nobody loses their team — The anguish that Quebec, Atlanta and until recently, Winnipeg and Minnesota fans felt are nowhere to be seen in this scenario. Yay!

• Less travel — With no team having to travel more than one time zone over for divisional games, the Western conference teams have a little less to complain about.

• Detroit outta the West — They finally get their wish. And they get to be in the same division as the Leafs, Havs, B’s and Rangers. Five out of six Original Six teams in one division… Heaven!

• Room for expansion — I know that the NHL says they have no expansion plans for now, but even in this “reality-based scenario”, a healthy  league can easily grow into two more markets and reach the sports-nirvana of 32-teams.

(h/t to oilersnation.com for the original map)

See ya’ll next week!

— TF

 

NHL Realignment Project – Week 4

NHL Realignment Project — Week Four

Week 4 – The Devil You Say!

All apologies to Kevin Smith, but this week, the biggest victims are the New Jersey Devils. The Devils have underachieved in attendance forever, and there are just too many teams in the Greater NYC area. In this make believe world, I could just has easily taken the axe to the Islanders, but let’s say they’ve just signed an agreement to move to the new arena in Brooklyn, so they stay.

I’m sure in a future installment, I’ll move the four-time champs instead of the three time champs.

Anyhoo, I’ll be sticking with the 30-team (with 9 in Canada) set up for this week again. Unlike last week, we’ve kept the sunny states in the mix, though. And GASP… Phoenix has kept their team!

There’s been a little bit of a change in my homage division names. This week, Orr is out and Richard is in, plus there are more divisions, so we’ve added Lemieux and Dionne.

NHL Realignment Map - Week 4

NHL Realignment Map - Week Four

 

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NHL Realignment Project – Week 3

NHL Realignment Project — Week Three

Week 3 – Damn, that’s Cold

Okay, I’m going a bit radical this week. This one is for all those anti-southern city folks.

NOTE: I am not one of the anti-southern city peeps. I live in Texas, after all.

So basically, with this plan, we’ve decided that the NHL hockey is a purely niche sport that has no place in the warmer climates where there isn’t a culture of hockey, or at least a cold enough winter to cultivate one. Niche sport means niche salaries, so some of the smaller market teams could survive with a slightly lower salary cap. My completely arbitrary line of demarcation (other than the fact it is used as a border for quite a few states) is the 37th parallel north. Four former champs (Stars, Hurricanes, Lightning, Ducks) get bounced, not to mention another runner-up (Kings). Damn, that’s cold. Oh well.

Sticking with the current 30-team makeup… just relocating current further north. Also sticking with Week Two’s division names.


NHL Realignment Map - Week 3

NHL Realignment Project — Week Three

Gained teams:

Quebec City, Portland, Sacramento, Kansas City, Seattle, Indiana, Salt Lake, Hamilton

Lost teams:

Dallas, Tampa Bay, Florida, Nashville, Carolina, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Anaheim

Benefits:

Honestly, not all that much. That being said, here we go:

• Easier support for/from youth leagues. — With longer winters (a.k.a. less outdoor sport competition), youth hockey leagues and grassroots interest in the sport can thrive more than in the South.

• More Canadian teams — Hamilton and Quebec City join the league bringing the home of hockey up to 9 teams.

• Interesting(?) new rivalries — Sacramento/San Jose, Portland/Seattle, Seattle/Vancouver, KC/St. Louis, Toronto/Hamilton, Quebec City/Montreal, Salt Lake/Colorado (admittedly inter-divisional)

• More balanced East/West — Decent split geographically, allowing for the Wings and Blue Jackets to be Eastern Time Zone teams in the Eastern Conference. Indiana is (at least a tiny portion) partially in the Central Time Zone… so that’s my excuse for the team in Indianapolis.

Fear not, Texas/Florida/Carolina/SoCal/Tennessee/Arizona folks… a change this drastic can never happen. There are just too many people and money south of the 37th. But don’t get too cozy, Phoenix and Miami, there’s a really good chance you’ll be losing your teams in the next 1-3 years. D’oh! (h/t to oilersnation.com for the original map)

Until next week!

— TF

NHL Realignment Project – Week 2

NHL Realignment Project — Week Two
Week 2 — Phoenix to Seattle

Welcome  back, true believers. Week two is upon us. This week we’ll look at a slightly more plausible scenario for the NHL’s 2012-2013 season. The league stays at the current 30-team count and the only team joining the Winnipeg team in relocation (now with a Jets logo on the map), is the Seattle Coyotes.

Almost everyone seems to agree that the “save” that Glendale/NHL team was able to perform this year is more of a “save with a fat rebound that will be slammed home” next year. So I’m moving ‘em. Just like Week One, the Coyotes are going to Seattle. Hamilton, Quebec, KC and Las Vegas will have to wait (for now).

The 30-team league breaks down into Eastern and Western Conferences again. Each conference has two divisions. I tried labeling the divisions geographically at first, but it didn’t seem right to have Detroit and Columbus in a “Southeast” Division, so I went with (arguably) the biggest names to play for a team in the new divisions… Gretzky, Hull, Orr and Howe. I’ll let sons and fathers argue over which Hull we’re talking about. :)

Seeing how 30 isn’t divisible by 4, and how my number one goal for this realignment was to get all Eastern Time Zone teams into the Eastern Conference I’ve gone with an unbalanced lineup. The two Eastern Divisions each have 8 teams, while the two Western Divisions each have 7 teams. Anyone who doesn’t like this, please refer to my King of North America Defense again.

So after that long intro, here are the goods:

Gained teams:

Seattle

Lost teams:

Phoenix

Benefits:

• Time Zone Harmony — Much to the delight of TV-watching fans, Time Zone insanity has been nearly eliminated. Only three teams have to leave their time zone for divisional road games… and exactly zero teams have to travel more than one time zone away for those same games (again, Dallas and Minnesota, you’re welcome).

• Fairer travel — Extension of the first benefit. Like last week’s plan, this mitigates some of the unfair travel strain placed on teams with the current league lineup. Sure, Western teams will still have to travel more often than their Eastern brothers, but geography and population clusters make a pure balance pretty much impossible. This is better than the current plan.

• New rivalries — Seattle becomes a natural rival for Vancouver. Detroit, Philly and Pittsburgh bring some gravitas to a reasonably young set of teams in the Howe Division… not to mention Penguins developing a thirst for proving to the Wings that Lemieux was snubbed in the division naming process. Dallas and Minnesota get to play more often and hash out their “you stole our team/suck it, we’re better” feud. Throw in a new Jets/Blues/Stars “they mean OUR Hull” rivalry and we’ve got some good stuff.

 

NHL Realignment Map - Week 2

NHL Realignment Project — Week Two

And there you have it. Off to bed (and to ponder next week’s realignment).

— Tom Fulery

 

My latest NHL Realignment Nonsense

NHL Logo

Add my name to the list of idiot bloggers trying to rework the NHL.

Basically, five markets lose their franchises and three markets gain them (or regain them). I’m not saying a team is “moving” because that gets into the age-old debate of whether franchise records/stats travel with the team. So, no.

In my league, if you leave your media market, you are an expansion team. Pay expansion fees again, bitch. That way if you are an owner who has been unable to generate success in a market, you don’t get to (golden) parachute into a new market and enjoy the pillaging of that city/arena for a year or two and then sell you team (Norm Green). I bet the Islanders could loophole their way over to Brooklyn or Queens, which is less bad… but I digress.

My new NHL has 28 teams divided into two conferences each with two 7-team divisions. I have two versions of this plan (one with Winnipeg, Quebec City and Seattle getting teams, and the other with Winnipeg, Quebec City and Hamilton getting teams. Either way, Florida, Tampa Bay, Columbus and Phoenix cease operations. Those cities could eventually reapply for teams, but only when the NHL is strong enough to expand sensibly.

————————— OPTION ONE ——————————

WESTERN CONFERENCE EASTERN CONFERENCE
Gretzky Division Orr Division
1. Anaheim Ducks 1. Boston Bruins
2. Calgary Flames 2. Montreal Canadiens
3. Edmonton Oilers 3. New Jersey Devils
4. Los Angeles Kings 4. New York Islanders
5. San Jose Sharks 5. New York Rangers
6. Seattle Shamrocks 6. Ottawa Senators
7. Vancouver Canucks 7. Quebec Royales
Hull Division Howe Division
1. Chicago Blackhawks 1. Buffalo Sabres
2. Colorado Avalanche 2. Carolina Hurricanes
3. Dallas Stars 3. Detroit Red Wings
4. Minnesota Wild 4. Philadelphia Flyers
5. Nashville Predators 5. Pittsburgh Penguins
6. St. Louis Blues 6. Toronto Maple Leafs
7. Winnipeg Wolverines 7. Washington Capitals

 

————————— OPTION TWO ——————————

WESTERN CONFERENCE

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Gretzky Division Orr Division
1. Anaheim Ducks 1. Boston Bruins
2. Colorado Avalanche 2. Montreal Canadiens
3. Calgary Flames 3. New Jersey Devils
4. Edmonton Oilers 4. New York Islanders
5. Los Angeles Kings 5. New York Rangers
6. San Jose Sharks 6. Ottawa Senators
7. Vancouver Canucks 7. Quebec Royales
Howe Division Sawchuk Division
1. Chicago Blackhawks 1. Buffalo Sabres
2. Dallas Stars 2. Carolina Hurricanes
3. Detroit Red Wings 3. Hamilton Lynx
4. Minnesota Wild 4. Philadelphia Flyers
5. Nashville Predators 5. Pittsburgh Penguins
6. St. Louis Blues 6. Toronto Maple Leafs
7. Winnipeg Wolverines 7. Washington Capitals

 

 

To piggy-back off the idea from an earlier post , the 82-game schedule would have to be reworked. I would break it down like this:

– One home and one away game against each non-divisional opponent, regardless of conference — 42 games.

– Three home and three away games agains each non-division opponent within conference — 36 games.

– One more home and one more away game against two non-conference opponent (one in each division) — 4 games… So, each year, the two opponents in this last batch of four games would change, cycling through all opponents after seven seasons.

 

Wouldn’t it be great if the league was “locked” during that seven year run? No expansion. Ownership changes and/or new arenas in the teams current market are allowed, but that’s it.

That’s it. I’m sure everyone will hate it, but that’s the nature of the beast. Bring on the criticism.

—TF

PS—When I get around to it, I’ll create a map with these two “new league breakdowns”… anyone care to create Seattle, Quebec, Hamilton and Winnipeg logos?