Blog Entry

Flyers chairman Snider expects total realignment

Posted on: November 15, 2011 11:41 am

By Brian Stubits

It's been a while since our last realignment update. When last we left you, the Flyers and Penguins were sharing their displeasure with any proposal that had them in separate divisions/conferences.

All along, the reports have said the NHL was looking to do as little as possible in regards to moving teams. In a perfect world for the powers that be, the Jets would be moved into the Central, perhaps the Blue Jackets go in the Southeast and you call it a day.

But life isn't that simple. There is the pressure of the Red Wings to move East. There is also the looming uncertainty of the Coyotes in Phoenix and whether they might move to, say, Quebec City.

Throw all of the above angles into a crockpot with the other spices affecting the situation added in and you have "total realignment" cooking, according to Flyers chairman Ed Snider.

“There has to be,” Snider told Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly about total realignment. “But our traditional rivalries will always be with us no matter how it is realigned. I’m pretty confident of that.”

Perhaps the reason for his confidence in that is his belief that the Pennsylvania teams will remain together, something which the proposal that was reportedly gaining steam did not feature.

“We’ll be together without question, if under a four conference set-up,” Snider predicted of the Flyers and Penguins. “We will have all our traditional rivals and some others in a four-conference setup.”

The question begs: what is total realignment? Could that be a situation where conferences aren't divided by east and west but instead split seemingly at random like the NFL and MLB? Does it mean a return to the four-conference format, as Snider alludes to? Does it mean Florida is joining the Northwest Division?

I think about the only thing we can safely assume is that "total realignment" would include the abolition of the six-division format currently in use. I wouldn't rule anything else out at this point (OK, I guess I'd rule out that Florida-to-Northwest, too).

If I had to put money down I'd expect to see the four-conference format that we used to enjoy, and not just because Snider hinted at it. I think it could give the league the most flexibility in the case of a Phoenix move to the East.

The idea has been discussed already of having unbalanced conferences a la Major League Baseball (although it looks like that won't remain as the Houston Astros are reportedly moving to the American League). Assuming that enough franchises would be happy with that idea, the realignment starts with 15 teams per conference and then they could easily flip to the unbalanced, 16/14 look with simply switching the Coyotes franchise to the East after their hypothetical move. If they stay, then you keep balanced conferences.

When this is all said and done, I can't imagine everybody will be happy. But such is life, the teams with the most clout -- Philadelphia and Pittsburgh each fall into this category -- are much more likely to get their way.

Photo: Getty Images

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Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: November 15, 2011 2:27 pm

Flyers chairman Snider expects total realignment

Also, if the Coyotes move under my setup, the solution is simple. The Red Wings would go to the Norris, with the Jets moving to the Smythe.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: November 15, 2011 2:25 pm

Flyers chairman Snider expects total realignment

There can be no perfect balance since 17 of the 30 teams are in the eastern times zone east of the Mississippi river.
Not true. The Coyotes haven't moved yet. There are 16 teams in the Eastern time zone. Chicago and Nashville might be east of the Mississippi, but they're on Central time. Here's how you'd do it right now, using unbalanced conferences.

Wales Conference
Patrick Division: Rangers, Flyers, Islanders, Devils, Penguins, Capitals, Lightning, Panthers
Adams Division: Bruins, Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Sabres, Senators, Red Wings, Blue Jackets, Hurricanes

Campbell Conference
Norris Division: Blackhawks, Blues, Stars, Wild, Predators, Jets, Avalanche
Smythe Division: Canucks, Flames, Oilers, Coyotes, Kings, Ducks, Sharks

Each team would play every team in the other conference twice. For Wales teams, that adds up to 28 games. For Campbell teams, that means 32 games. From there, you have every Wales team play every team in the other Wales division three times. You then get four games against every team in your division. Yes, that means a return to 84 games.

In the Campbell Conference, you simply play every team in your conference four times to reach 84 games. If someone else has a better way to make the math work, I am all for it.

Since: Jul 22, 2007
Posted on: November 15, 2011 2:16 pm

Flyers chairman Snider expects total realignment

This may sound like such a small thing but when they do realignment how about bringing back the division and conference names - Adams, Patrick,Smythe & Norris and since there are 2 more divisions now why not take 2 NHL legends and use their names as the additional two division names like "Richard", "Howe", "Gretzky" etc.
If they do abandon 6 divisions and go back to 4 then you just have to use the names that were already in place and should be back in place.
And while we're at it get rid of Western & eastern Conference and go back to Prince of Wales & Campbell conference's.
I know it sounds small but Hockey, like all other sports is built on tradition and going back to the names would honor that tradition.
I think it's been obvious that the "NBAzation" of hockey has failed and they've realized that they need to focus on their core fans and I think this is something that core fans would welcome with open arms!

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: November 15, 2011 2:02 pm

Flyers chairman Snider expects total realignment

Winnipeg goes Northwest replacing Minnesota.
Minnesota goes to the Central replacing Nashvelle.
Nashville goes Southeast replacing Winnipeg.
Pretty simple solution and nobody really loses.
The main complaints will come from Detroit who hoped to go East with the realignment.

Since: Jan 2, 2007
Posted on: November 15, 2011 1:45 pm

Flyers chairman Snider expects total realignment

This is too easy.  I can only guess that too many teams are being allowed to throw in their two cents about the matter and that's what holding things up.  Obviously, we're all waiting for the shoe to drop on Phoenix now that Atlanta moved to Winnipeg, but I can't imagine that will take too much longer.  The NHL could go public with one realignment plan and have the alternates already worked out depending on where the Coyotes end up in the next few years-- it certainly won't still be Phoenix.  There's also a chance some of our other southern teams call moving vans, but let's give that another year or two.  Move the Coyotes first, then we'll deal with the others.

By the way, when they go through the realignment, let's get back to using historical hockey names for the divisions and conferences.  That's one of the things that made hockey more special in the pre-Bettman years.  I want the Wales and Campbell Conferences to return.  And why does it have to be divided east-west.  Why not north-south?  That might balance the travel issues that crop up more for the "western conference" we have now.  There can be no perfect balance since 17 of the 30 teams are in the eastern times zone east of the Mississippi river.

Wales Conference:
Patrick Division -- Devils, Flyers, Islanders, Penguins & Rangers
Adams Division -- Bruins, Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Sabres & Senators
(Scotty) Bowman Division -- Canucks, Flames, Jets, Oilers & Wild

Campbell Conference:
Norris Division -- Blackhawks, Blue Jackets, Blues, Red Wings & Stars
Smythe Division -- Avalanche, Coyotes, Ducks, Kings & Sharks
(Toe) Blake Division -- Capitals, Hurricanes, Lightning, Panthers & Predators
Any other ideas, hockey fans?

Since: Apr 4, 2008
Posted on: November 15, 2011 1:17 pm

Flyers chairman Snider expects total realignment

It's about time, very overdue. Too much cross country for many midwest teams.

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