December 6, 2011 in Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks Tags: NHL realignment, Quebec Nordiques
There will be four new conferences beginning in 2012-13, decided today by the NHL Board of Governors in Pebble Beach, California.
Out of curiosity, I looked up Pebble Beach’s weather and it’s been around 12 degrees celcius during the day there, so the gang isn’t exactly enjoying hot weather. I’ll bet they’re getting some golfing in, though.
The new realignment is a geographical thing, and it’s all about cutting down on travel for teams, and less time zones to cross. I know Vancouver will be happy to not cross the country as often. Canuck players have admitted for years that the travel from the West Coast has been a tiresome endeavor and slightly unfair.
The first division, seen below, with New Jersey, New York, Pittsburgh and such, will do very little travel, aside from, as I understand it, when teams play teams from other conferences once a year. The cities in this conference are all within an hour or two of each other. And actually, when you see the four divisions, they all make sense.
Montreal’s division only has seven teams and there’s room for one more, like the Quebec Nordiques.
The New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh division also only has seven, but cities mentioned for future expansion, like Kansas City and Las Vegas, aren’t in the area and would throw the whole geographical thing out of whack again.
Here’s the realignment. The top four teams from each will make the playoffs.
* New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Washington and Carolina
* Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Buffalo, Florida and Tampa Bay
* Detroit, Columbus, Nashville, St. Louis, Chicago, Minnesota, Dallas and Winnipeg
* Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Colorado