Posted by: emmaharger | June 28, 2011

A dramatic realignment?

This was reported in Atlanta as a tiny 200-or-so word blurb in the sports pages and really was worth a bit more of an investigation, but now that we’ve lost our team, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution basically presumes that absolutely no one in their readership has even one care about hockey, so all coverage of anything hockey-related will be paltry.

But this story deserved more: reportedly, the NHL wants to dramatically realign itself for the 2012-13 season.

It's like a big game of musical chairs.

The Sporting News reports that an NHL executive–who probably isn’t authorized to speak on the record about this yet because it’s in the early stages yet–at the draft said there are plans afoot for a realignment. The plan reported on would have the NHL split into four divisions: two with eight teams each and two with seven teams each.

Obviously, lots of regional interests come into play here in crafting proposals: the Red Wings, Blue Jackets and Predators are all interested in moving into the Eastern Conference. I think the Predators would be a pretty sensible addition to the Southeastern Conference, as it were, considering Nashville is actually, legitimately in the Southeast (unlike a certain team that will have to play in that conference for a year). The Blue Jackets could definitely move east, considering that Ohio is in the Eastern time zone. I’d keep Detroit in the Western Conference, though.

Of course, none of this is in later stages, and the Board of Governors would have to approve any new reorganizing plan at their December meeting. That being said, here is the way I’d sort it if I had to go for a two eight-two seven approach. As I was doing this, and looking at the map of teams, I realized my plan would be off-balanced if I moved both the Predators and the Blue Jackets east (I ended up with one division that had only six teams when it needed seven). So, uh, sorry, Columbus.

Division 1: 8 teams (Eastern)
Canadiens
Senators
Maple Leafs
Bruins
Rangers
Islanders
Sabres
Devils

Division 2: 8 teams (Western)
Canucks
Flames
Oilers
Ugh, Jets
Sharks
Kings
Ducks
Coyotes

Division 3: 7 teams (Eastern)
Flyers
Penguins
Capitals
Hurricanes
Predators
Lightning
Panthers

Division 4: 7 teams (Western)
Red Wings
Blue Jackets
Blackhawks
Blues
Wild
Stars
Avalanche

If I were to give these names, they’d be just simple Northeast (division 1), Northwest (division 2), Southeast (division 3) and Southwest (division 4). I know some of them are kind of stretching the definition of the terms, but it’s basically that way already. I don’t consider Washington part of the Southeast, geographically, but it’s in the division. Who knows what the Board of Governors might actually do, though? This is just one fan’s theory.


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