Blog Entry

NHL announces realignment to four conferences

Posted on: December 5, 2011 9:31 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 1:50 pm
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By Brian Stubits

Look what the Winnipeg Jets started.

Realignment is coming to the NHL, and as was predicted, it's of the "total" variety.

Easy but incomplete ideas were floated (swapping either Detroit, Nashville or Columbus with Winnipeg in the Southeast and calling it a day), but in the end it was the big idea that won out. With Gary Bettman pushing it, you knew it would.

Gone are the days of divisions in hockey. The NHL will return to four conferences starting next season (names undetermined as of yet, but you can bet they will likely be historic). Two of the four divisions will have eight teams, two will have seven. The first two rounds of the playoffs will be played entirely within the conference before re-seeding in the third round, or Final Four, if you will. The NHL hasn't said yet how it plans to re-seed at that point, a decision will come later regarding that part.

It will also bring a schedule where every team will play a home and away with every other team.

Here is the proposal that was passed in a little less than an hour and with a 26-4 vote.

I can hear everybody now. Why didn't they just go the easy route? The short answer: politics. Well that and time zones.

"We had a number of clubs that were unhappy with the current state of affairs," commissioner Bettman said at the news conference to announce the realignment.

The Detroit Red Wings have a lot of clout. As an Original Six team who has done a lot of winning, that comes with the territory. They have long wanted to move to the East and have been very vocal about Bettman promising as such. That's complication No. 1 and it's alleviated. The Red Wings now will only play one game at each Western Canada and California arena.

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The same goes for the Blue Jackets, who don't carry the same clout but had the same concerns.

"This is a fantastic night for the Blue Jackets," Blue Jackets president Mike Priest said.

Complication No. 2 was the existence of teams like the Dallas Stars playing their road games two time zones away or in the case of the Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets, playing a lot of road games three time zones away. By this grouping, teams are grouped with much more consideration to time zones. So while the idea of an Eastern Conference and Western Conference are gone, the Red Wings and Jackets get their end goal and will play with teams in the Eastern time zone and Central time zone a lot more.

Complication No. 3? Detroit isn't in the Southeast. But you knew that.

So we end up with this layout. There are honestly a lot more positives than negatives in this. The biggest consideration, time zones, was taken care of. Now the teams out West won't feel as big of a disadvantage as they do now. Despite having more teams in their new conferences, it was an easy sell for for the 15 teams that currently call the Western Conference home.

This really does seem like the best solution to please the most teams. The biggest problems I see? First is for the teams in the two eight-team conferences. They face longer odds than the other half of the league to make the postseason.

The second? The only teams that really seemed to get jobbed by the arrangement are the two teams in Florida, the Panthers and Lightning. Not counting each other, their closest division foes are in Buffalo and Boston.

Of course, one benefit to this new design is that it allows for flexibility in the case of the Phoenix Coyotes moving East. It would be as simple as putting them in a seven-team conference with the other Canadian teams if they were to, say, move to Quebec City.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

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Comments

Since: Oct 29, 2009
Posted on: December 6, 2011 8:09 pm
 

NHL announces realignment to four conferences

Can I have some of the stuff your on? Did you have a class on geography?




Since: Jan 15, 2007
Posted on: December 6, 2011 6:37 pm
 

NHL announces realignment to four conferences

Fro this realignment, the mid-Alantic conference teams (Philly, Pitt, NY, NY, NJ, Washington, NC) are the big winners and Florida teams are the big loosers.  I knows why the NHL did this but it still will hurt Florida and Tampa Bay.



Since: Feb 29, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2011 5:57 pm
 

Why Not Have 6 Conferences Attached to Original 6

How about having conferences attached to the six original teams?


Montreal Confererence

can have four other Canadian Teams - Ottawa, Buffalo (practically in Canada)  Winnepeg and (allow Quebec to reenter after moving from Columbus)

Toronto Conference

can have four other Canadian Teams - Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary and Minnesota (practically in Canada)


New  York Conference

can have the Islanders, New Jersey, Florida and Tampa  Bay  (after all, most of Florida comes from NY and NJ)


Boston Conference

can have Pittsburgh, Philadephia, Washington and Carolina


Detroit Conference 

can have Saint Louis, Nashville, Dallas, and Phoenix


Chicago Conference

can have Los Angeles, San Jose, Anaheim and Colorado (they can use some getting out of Chicago during the winter to visit nice warm climates and then feel right at home in Colorado)


 



Since: Feb 6, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 5:49 pm
 

NHL announces realignment to four conferences

MANY of you .. All U know How to do, is COMPLAIN. And act like U could come up with a BETTER idea ?????? * The suggested alignment WORKS. (period) U are NOT going to make EVERY TEAM Happy ... Florida and TB are all the way down to the SOUTH/EAST - They are not close to ANYONE ( so it doesn't matter where they landed - other than on WEST COAST obviously ) HOWEVER - The ONLY suggestion I would make, or only comment I would make is:  Why not switch the 2 NEW YORK Teams - with the 2 FLORIDA Teams ? ( makes more "geographical sense" ........................ Anyway: BOTTOM-LINE: If YOUR TEAM PLAYS WELL ENOUGH - THEY 'WILL' MAKE THE PLAYOFFS ---- and then ANYTHING can happen !  Just like 'my' BRUINZ last year ; p - lol --- and maybe even ... AGAIN this Year ?? ; p




Since: Oct 8, 2009
Posted on: December 6, 2011 4:37 pm
 

NHL announces realignment to four conferences

AN you couldn't be more wrong. First I'm not comparing anything. I'm simply showing how a team with a great point total can get excluded from the playoffs more easily in the new system. I unbderstand that the scheduling is different. But it's this difference that makes the LA scenario even more likely with there being more conferences, and therefore more interleague play. Now if the team play was limited more to the same conference, this wouldn't be an issue and you would be right. But with the league playing the more balanced schedule they'll be playing more than half of their games out of conference. 46/44 out of conference to 36/38 in conference. Right now teams play a total of 64 games in conference (24 division 40 out of division). Now teams will be earning the bulk of their points in out of conference games. And thus you can (and likely will) have conferences that have 95-100point+ totals five teams deep. Can you see what I'm saying?


leasmeek
Since: Dec 6, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 4:21 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Jul 28, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2011 3:47 pm
 

NHL announces realignment to four conferences

KM9, you aren't comparing apples to apples.  You can't just take the standings from last year and plug the teams into the new alignment structure to see what they would look like under the new system because the scheduling under the new system is totally different from the old system.  For example, you say that LA, who made the playoffs in the west last year, would miss the playoffs in the new system.  But LA would play totally different teams under the new schedule, making any comparison between the new system and last year's standings irrelevant and misleading.

Like I mentioned in my earlier post, the real problem is the fact that the teams in the bigger conferences will not play the same number of games against each team in the conference.  But the NHL apparently doesn't care about fairness. It just wants fans in every city to have an opportunity to see every team at least once every year.



Since: Oct 8, 2009
Posted on: December 6, 2011 3:15 pm
 

NHL announces realignment to four conferences

Maybe this will better illustrate my point. Here are the league standings from last season (Top 18 NHL teams) from first to last. Now note which of those teams would miss the playoffs in the new system compared to the old system and then tell me which is more fair:

2010-2011 League Standings

Under Old System

Vancouver
Washington
Philadelphia
Pittsburgh
San Jose
Detroit
Boston
Tampa
Anaheim
Nashville
Phoenix
LA
Chicago
Montreal
Buffalo
Dallas - MISSED PLAYOFFS
Calgary - MISSED PLAYOFFS
NY Rangers


Under New System

Vancouver
Washington
Philadelphia
Pittsburgh
San Jose
Detroit
Boston
Tampa
Anaheim
Nashville
Phoenix
LA - MISSED PLAYOFFS
Chicago
Montreal
Buffalo
Dallas
Calgary - MISSED PLAYOFFS
NY Rangers



Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 3:12 pm
 

NHL announces realignment to four conferences

Bettman isn't the brightest Tool in the Shed introducing this Alignment w/time zones w/4 Conferences & the incorrect movement of Expanding teams to the South. NHL's Bettman needed to Promote/Advertise in the mid 90's to get more attention/viewers from starting out small w/farm teams in Locations where those teams are needed in the NorthWest-Prime Rib Cut to fill out Edmonton, Calgary & Vancouver Geographically????!!!! They're in one Geographic area separating miles away from the rest Geographically & promotes Time Zone issues w/travel. How about introduction of 2 more Expansion Teams in the Northwest?-Seattle & Portland. They can & would sustain a better market than those of a few teams Florida Pathers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes, Phoenix Coyotes, Nashville Predators & Columbus Bluejackets. Portland is over a Half Million w/support of Salem & College Town Eugene. Seattle w/Suburb of Tacoma & Olympia. Population isn't an issue & is no different from the Expansion/Relocation Teams. In the 90's they created the Ottawa Senators, "San Jose Sharks, Aneheim Mighty Ducks-now Ducks making which are bigger than what most people thought starting out" then pushing further East introducing the Columbus Bluejackets, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators & to Southeast to the Tampa Bay Lightning & Florida Panthers. Relocations of the Hartford Whalers-Carolina Hurricanes, Minnesota Northstars-Dallas Stars-rapidly the State of Texas is bigger market for the NHL in the South then what most people think, Quebec Nordiques-Colorado Avalanche & Winnipeg Jets-Phoenix Coyotes. Come on People & especially the NHL make this look more sensable w/less hassle.  



Since: Jun 16, 2009
Posted on: December 6, 2011 3:07 pm
 

NHL announces realignment to four conferences

I don't mind this realignment choice. The only thing that I might change is instead of playing the first two rounds of the playoffs against your own conference have the 1 seed in one conference play the 4 seed in a different conference and the 2 seed play the 3 seed of the different conference. I guess this would add a little travel costs to the teams because they could possibly play a team further away but I don't really like seeing the same teams over and over again or knowing that one team from every conference will be in the semi-finals every year. This would also make for a better chance that existing rivalry teams that got split up in the realignmnet will see each other in the playoffs and not have to make it to the semi-finals to see each other (Detroit and Colorado for example). The teams in the same conference will have the rivalries already from the regular season and if two teams come out of the same conference after playing the different conference the first two rounds I think that would be great hockey for a chance to go to the Stanley Cup Finals. Imagine seeing Detroit play Chicago in the semi-finals or Pittsburgh/Philly.



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