When the NHL’s Board of Governors announced the realignment set up, I was originally very excited. However, after looking at the divisional set ups, I must say I feel very dissappointed. The NHL seems to have dropped the geographical aspect of the divisions in order to allow a league designed to do one thing: make money.
I’ll break down the set up and briefly explain my opinions on each of the new Conferences. Conference ‘A’ is set up pretty well. This conference consists of Anaheim, Colorado, Calgary, Edmonton, LA, Phoenix, San Jose, and Vancouver. This conference makes great sense, as rivalries such as LA-ANA and Calgary-EDM/VAN remain intact. Plus, travel remains fairly distrubuted compared to the next conference.
Conference ‘B’ involves Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis, and Winnipeg. This set up prevents Winnipeg from forming strong, seasonal rivalries with the other western Canadian teams, but allows for mid-western teams in the U.S. to keep any ‘bad blood’ between teams boiling hot. Travel remains consistent.
Now is where things get a little hairy. Conference ‘C’ has our beloved Lightning team, Boston, Buffalo, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto. Again, this conference keeps Canadian rivalries, the FLA-TBL rivalry, and the BOS-MTL rivalry all intact. However, in comparison to the next and final conference, the travel is lopsided.
Conference ‘D’ is the most compact, easily traveled conference in the realignment. The teams are as follows: Carolina, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington. Right away the team that seems farthest from the others is Carolina. Other than that, the travel between cities is a short plane ride, or even a short bus ride. Of course, the NYI-NYR stays intact, along with the PHI-PIT rivalry. And to make even more money, the NHL made sure the Capitals and Penguins were both placed in the same division. Compared to the previous conference, or any other conference, this conference is very easily traveled.
Overall, the realignment will provide an interesting change for the league. Despite the travel discrepancy in the two Eastern conferences, it should be interesting to watch the new set up in the NHL.
More info via ESPN http://tinyurl.com/782zhdf.
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