Realignment Announced

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

15 thoughts on “Realignment Announced”

  1. I’m not sure how this works but apparently we’d only have to worry about a few teams in order to make the playoffs instead of worring about 14. I think it may be 6-7 teams one would need to worry about now.

    I’m sure traveling can be a drag but when you compare it to the old days where they took the train everywhere, taking planes isn’t too bad. It’s probably bad when there’s a long road trip like we have in December all the time. That would be hard to take.

  2. I do like the idea of a geographical rearrangement. Not sure if this was the intent, but the environmental impact of all those long-distance flights was a little ridiculous. Remember last week’s hab schedule of flying from Anaheim to SJ only back to LA? What was with that?

    I sorta have a problem with including Tampa and Flirida in our division tho. Albeit those locations are not terribly far for the Habs, I think the reason reeks of trying to keep ticket sales up by having the Habs visit Florida often. And if that’s the case, phooey on you, NHL.

  3. Marjo, it seems for sure that geography was the main inntent for this. The thing with the Florida teams, where else would they go? It had to be Montreal’s division as far as I can see.

  4. Darth, in Montreal’s division of seven teams, three won’t make the playoffs. You make a valid point about trains and planes. But they go much farther now, and a team like Vancouver spends way more time in the air than an eastern team. I like this new idea.

  5. I like the idea and the arrangements. Maybe the NHL did stick the Florida teams in the conference just for sales, but you don’t want to split up the pens-caps-devils-phlyers-rangers thing. These teams have some heated rivalries going.

    The other good thing about the change is that it avoid having 6 teams tied from 5th to 10th and having to go through multiple tiebreakers.

  6. Jennifer, thanks for the link. Holy cow, the Bell has the most expensive beer in the league and it’s owned by a brewery. It just doesn’t seem right.

  7. For me, the big problem is not the division or the playoff entrance.
    It’s that in 3 years we will have play like 2 times each Boston, Buf and Tampa in playoff and that’s it. I will badly miss Pitts, Philly and Wash.
    Ok we don’t need the 87 to full BC, but in series that can be fun…no?
    For me their new playoff strategy suck.

  8. But Vanhouse, if we get out of our division, we play Pittsburgh or whoever from their division. I think. I could be wrong and if I am, please correct me.

  9. from what I understood, we play each teams 2 times and more for the ones in our division. That’s ok, great to see west 2 times.
    But in playoff, it will be the 4 better that will battle to get out of there and be the division winner. This winners will play with 3 others divisions winners in semi and Sanley cup final.

    So to get out of playoff division, we need to win 2 series against Boston, Buffalo or Tampa (today’s logic).
    Boston-Mtl makes great series but other teams can be fun to play.

  10. I would have tagged the Floridian teams with those of Phil., Pitt., etc. And bring up the Rangers and NJ. They said they’d divvy it up according geo. But didn’t with the Florida teams. These two teams will be doing the most traveling of the Eastern teams.

    If it’s a question of breaking up existing rivalries, I.e., rangers and Phil for instance, too bad! I’m sure other rivalries will start with a new set up.

  11. For the Panthers and Tampa, I think it’s a good thing. Financialy it’s a no-brainer and you keep the centre east in a block. It’s a win-win.

  12. Marjo, then you’ve got the Islanders, just up the road from New York, in a different division than the Rangers. And think of all those Quebecois snowbirds in Florida going to see their Habs.

  13. I hate to admit it, but I think Bettman finally made a good decision. The odd thing is that I don’t know why I like it. I don’t think it cuts down travel by as much as advertised. Now all teams will have to cross the continent to visit every NHL city which has to add to travel distances. No wonder western teams like it, more Canadiens, less St. Louis, Nashville, Columbus, Phoenix, etc. It’s a bit fairer that a team in a weak division can’t inflate its points relative to the other teams in the conference. But it’s less fair that eastern teams only have to beat three teams to make the play-off while western teams have to beat four. That’s where expansion to 32 teams will help, but that won’t happen as long as there are so many money losing franchises in cities that don’t care that no one wants to own.

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