FanDuel - WFBC

December 05, 2011

NHL governors adopt radical realignment plan: The NHL's Board of Governors on Monday approved a radical realignment plan, according to multiple reports. The plan reportedly eliminates the current two-conference, six-division setup in favor of a configuration that features four conferences based on geography. Two conferences will have eight teams and the other two conferences will have seven teams, according to the report.

posted by NoMich to hockey at 09:44 PM - 30 comments

Fantastic. This realignment plan works out fantastically for the Wings. It will be nice to be able to watch road playoff games that don't start at 10:30 pm.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 09:50 PM on December 05

Excellent.

posted by insomnyuk at 09:53 PM on December 05

It looks great for travel, although there will still be some distance traveled. The big thing is that it eliminates a lot of time zone changes. I would like to have seen Detroit back with more of the "Original 6" clubs, but at least Boston will see them twice per season, and possibly have a series during the Stanley Cup playoffs. The conference arrangement keeps a lot of the old division rivalries alive as well. I don't wonder that this passed the Board of Governors easily.

posted by Howard_T at 09:58 PM on December 05

the yet-to-be-named four conferences

Smythe, Norris, Adams, Patrick. See how easy that was?

It will be interesting to see what happens to the conference championship trophies in all this, as well...

posted by MeatSaber at 09:59 PM on December 05

As a Wild fan, I am quite pleased with this realignment also. Only one trip to northwest Canada and more old Norris Division rivals. Good deal.

posted by TheQatarian at 10:12 PM on December 05

It will be nice to be able to watch road playoff games that don't start at 10:30 pm.

You get no sympathy from Stars fans (and not entirely because you're a Wings fan).

From the article: The new alignment also enables the NHL to create a balanced schedule in which all teams will play each other at least twice every season, once at home and once on the road, giving fans a chance to see every team and superstar in the League.

That's a no-brainer, but I'm glad to see it.

posted by Ufez Jones at 10:14 PM on December 05

* Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Buffalo, Florida and Tampa Bay

Two of these things are not like the others .....

The four respective Conference champions would meet in the third round of the Playoffs, with the survivors playing for the Stanley Cup.

I guess it will be A vs B, and C vs D in the semis? Article doesn't say.

This is good for Vancouver in that it makes way more games within the PST zone, and cuts out the long intra-division Minnesota road trips. Also the play every other team home and away each year makes so much effing sense I am surprised they implemented it.

The seven team vs eight team structure does raise fundamental issues of fairness though. 4/7 chance vs 4/8 chance of making the playoffs is a huge deal. Also, the first two rounds of the playoffs being intra-division [*kaff* "conference"] does raise spectre of monotony of matchups year in year out.

Which might be the monotony of getting clock cleaned by the resurgent Oilers for the next five years.

posted by rumple at 10:40 PM on December 05

On the Forecheck looks at travel distances

(also a nice map in the first comment there)

posted by kokaku at 11:25 PM on December 05

And when the Coyotes move to Kansas City, Seattle, Las Vegas, Houston, Hamilton or Quebec City, the divisions conferences will get reshuffled yet again?

posted by tommytrump at 11:30 PM on December 05

Another nice map.

I saw a comment to the effect that having the top three teams per division, plus four wildcards would be more fair vs the 4/8:4/7 model. And another comment (I have no original thoughts) that the TB/Florida placement was because the Canadian teams are a huge draw with the Florida snowbirds and retirees from Canuckistan.

posted by rumple at 11:36 PM on December 05

I guess it will be A vs B, and C vs D in the semis? Article doesn't say.

From what I read about the proposal before it was adopted, the teams will be reseeded and will play 1 v 4 and 2 v 3.

Also, the first two rounds of the playoffs being intra-division [*kaff* "conference"] does raise spectre of monotony of matchups year in year out.

Having the Red Wings and Avalanche meet repeatedly in the playoffs during the 90's led to the development of one of the sport's greatest rivalries (for a time). I could see Wings fans developing a healthy hatred for the Blackhawks if they faced each other repeatedly.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 11:51 PM on December 05

a simpler realigned 6 divs x 5 teams makes more sense and would've created stronger regional rivalries - from rumple's link you can see a natural SW, NW, SE, Midwest, Atlantic, NE (with room for debate in the tightly packed Midwest, Atlantic, NE) - if you have 8 games against ea div opponent, that's 32 games, and 50 games for home-and-homes against every other team - there's your season - unbalanced divs feels wrong

posted by kokaku at 07:58 AM on December 06

Also, the first two rounds of the playoffs being intra-division [*kaff* "conference"] does raise spectre of monotony of matchups year in year out.

Do you know how badly CBC wants a Toronto/Montreal, Montreal/Boston, Boston/Toronto, Ottawa/Toronto playoff series? This is their dream playoff alignment scenario.

Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Buffalo, Florida and Tampa Bay

Two of these things are not like the others .....

No matter what happened, the two Florida teams (plus Calgary/Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Colorado/Dallas) were going to put a strain on the travel arrangements for whichever conference they ended up in.

At least this arrangement gives the Canadian teams in that division nice winter breaks during the bleak months. :)

posted by grum@work at 09:17 AM on December 06

And when the Coyotes move to Kansas City, Seattle, Las Vegas, Houston, Hamilton or Quebec City, the divisions conferences will get reshuffled yet again?

Actually, it would work out fine.

Phoenix would drop out of the Western conference (leaving them with 7 teams) and join the Canadian Sunshine conference (leaving them with 8 teams).

No realignment would be required, just some scheduling changes.

posted by grum@work at 09:21 AM on December 06

I could see Wings fans developing a healthy hatred for the Blackhawks if they faced each other repeatedly.

That was either very funny in a deadpan kind of way, or it illustrates the need to bring back the old Norris Division. Pretty sure you're a Wings fan YYM, and I know you weren't around for the 70's and 80's (and back, I'm sure). Has the Wings/Hawks rivalry really abated that much?

posted by tahoemoj at 10:01 AM on December 06

I've never truly experienced the Wings/Hawks rivalry. I started to follow hockey in 1996, when the Wings/Avalanche rivalry was starting to blossom. The Blackhawks have never felt like a rival to me, only recently with the Wings facing them in the playoffs has that begun to change. Those who were around for the Norris Division may feel differently, but Wings fans raised in the 90s know very little of a Wings/Hawks rivalry.

I remember that my aunt used to have a healthy dislike of the Toronto Maple Leafs as well. I was never able to share that appreciation as the Maple Leafs changed divisions not long after I first began to follow hockey.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 10:28 AM on December 06

I remember that my aunt used to have a healthy dislike of the Toronto Maple Leafs as well.

Did she live in Canada, but outside of Toronto? If so, it's normal.

posted by grum@work at 10:50 AM on December 06

Actually, the rivalry that could be nicely rekindled here is the Chicago-Minnesota rivalry. (Chicago and Detroit are already playing six times per year as it is.) In the old Norris Division days, a Blackhawks-North Stars contest was usually good for at least one brawl per game. Today, with the Blackhawks' young talent and the Wild seemingly on the way up, it could be a great rivalry again. I'll take this over "Wild vs. Calgary/Edmonton/Vancouver" any day.

posted by TheQatarian at 10:55 AM on December 06

The only thing I'd have preferred is to throw Columbus into the Patrick, thus making two 15-team east-west conferences with 1-8 seeding rather than 1-4 seeding in each division conference. But I guess it will save the western teams from Michigan-California playoff series in the early rounds.

The new Patrick Division Conference is going to be hardcore. Plus the Islanders, I mean.

posted by Mookieproof at 12:34 PM on December 06

I saw a comment to the effect that having the top three teams per division, plus four wildcards would be more fair vs the 4/8:4/7 model

Yeah, that seems the obvious answer. Without it, the teams and fans in the 8-team conferences should scream bloody murder.

posted by yerfatma at 01:29 PM on December 06

I saw a comment to the effect that having the top three teams per division, plus four wildcards would be more fair vs the 4/8:4/7 model

I agree it would be more fair, but it would lead to potentially unlucky travel for some playoff teams.

The "1v4/2v3 in the conference" setup makes it much easier for the first two rounds of the playoffs, as you'd only play teams in your own local time zone (although Miami isn't very local to Montreal). With the wild card model, you'd open up the possibility where the #1 team in a conference (say, Boston) could have to play a wild card team three time zones away (like Los Angeles), while every other team could end up playing in their own time zones.

Without it, the teams and fans in the 8-team conferences should scream bloody murder.

Yeah, but they get to play extra games against Columbus and Anaheim, so they'd have an extra advantage in the other setup. :)

posted by grum@work at 03:17 PM on December 06

Conference name time!

Original Flavour: Smyth, Norris, Patrick, Adams

Old School: Apps, Taylor, Baker, Shore

New School: Gretzky, Richard, Orr, Howe

Boring: West, Central, East, Atlantic

Sponsored: Visa, Tim Hortons, Pepsi, Honda

Honoured: Bailey, Masterton, Konstantinov, Horton

posted by grum@work at 03:30 PM on December 06

Following on Grum

Colors: Red (line), Blue (line), White (ice), Black (puck)

posted by kokaku at 04:12 PM on December 06

Subway map of the new alignment.

posted by NoMich at 05:27 PM on December 06

New School: Gretzky, Richard, Orr, Howe

Richard already has a trophy named after him, so I suggest Jacques Plante instead...

posted by MeatSaber at 08:10 PM on December 06

Did she live in Canada, but outside of Toronto? If so, it's normal.

Nope. Metro Detroit.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 08:36 PM on December 06

Hatred of the Leafs in the Detroit area is normal. Before the advent of cable, the only games we got to see were what games channel 50 televised, and HNIC. Since the 7:00 games were either Toronto or Montreal, it was easy to get sick of looking at them...

posted by MeatSaber at 10:26 PM on December 06

I've never truly experienced the Wings/Hawks rivalry. I started to follow hockey in 1996...


Detroit/Chicago rivalry, at least as I knew it, was back in the late '50s into the '60s. Pre-expansion, when Chicago had Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and others, and Detroit had Gordie Howe and others. Original Six clubs. Both fielded some good teams then and the rivalry started. Use to see them at old Olympia Stadium in Detroit.

posted by roberts at 06:38 AM on December 07

Fortunately they listened to the objections of projected plans by keeping Philly and Pittsburgh together. The Florida teams had been with Philly, Washington, Carolina and the New York-area teams in the projections.

As for the Maple Loaves, haven't they become loveable losers like the Cubbies?

Grum, no love for Hartford? (don't know if they're far enough away to avoid paying a kajillion bucks to the Rangers and possibly Islanders)

posted by jjzucal at 08:28 AM on December 07

As for the Maple Loaves, haven't they become loveable losers like the Cubbies?

I don't know about anyone else, but I revel in their misfortune...

posted by MeatSaber at 07:59 PM on December 07

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