Monday, December 5, 2011

Thoughts on Realignment

In what has been a hot topic of conversation around the NHL for the past few months, the NHL Board of Governors met and approved a realignment of the NHL that will take place next year. There will be four conferences in the NHL as opposed to the two conferences that are currently in place.

Here's a look at what each of the four conferences look like:

Central Conference:
Chicago Blackhawks
Columbus Blue Jackets
Dallas Stars
Detroit Red Wings
Minnesota Wild
Nashville Predators
St. Louis Blues
Winnipeg Jets

West Conference:
Anaheim Ducks
Calgary Flames
Colorado Avalanche
Edmonton Oilers
Los Angeles Kings
Phoenix Coyotes
San Jose Sharks
Vancouver Canucks

East 1 Conference:
Boston Bruins
Buffalo Sabres
Florida Panthers
Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators
Tampa Bay Lightning
Toronto Maple Leafs

East 2 Conference:
Carolina Hurricanes
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
Philadelphia Flyers
Pittsburgh Penguins
Washington Capitals

NHL Press Release:
The National Hockey League Board of Governors tonight approved a four-Conference alignment format and authorized Commissioner Gary Bettman to implement this proposal, pending input from the National Hockey League Players' Association. The format would create two eight-team Conferences and two seven-team conferences.

Under the format, every team would play every other team outside its conference twice -- once home, once away.

In the seven-team Conferences, teams would play six times -- three home, three away. In the eight-team Conferences, teams would play either five or six times in a season on a rotating basis; three teams would play each other six times and four teams would play each other five times. This process would reverse each season: An eight-team Conference member that plays an opponent six times in one season would play it five times the following season.

The top four teams in each Conference qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The first-place team would play the fourth-place team; the second-place team would play the third-place team. The four respective Conference champions would meet in the third round of the Playoffs, with the survivors playing for the Stanley Cup.

Leftover Thoughts:
Nashville will still maintain all of the divisional rivalries that have been built since they came into the NHL. Those rivalries will be escalated, especially when the Predators could potentially play teams like Detroit and Chicago every year in the playoffs.

Each team will make a trip to Bridgestone Arena next year. I think that's awesome. It's great for ticket sales, and it gives fans the chance to see players like Sidney Crosby every year.

Overall, I think that the realignment proposal is a pretty good one. What are your thoughts?


  1. My only concern is that since we have 8 teams in our conference, we only have a 50% chance of making the playoffs. In the past we could count on at least 5 or 6 teams in the West being totally out of the playoffs every year. So we had a 8 in 10 chance of making the playoffs. Now, we have only 4 in 8 chance..Assume Chicago and Detroit automatically qualify. That gives us a 2 in 6 chance, or 33%. Assume one of St.Louis, Minnesota, or Dallas will have a good year every year, that means we have a 1 in 5 chance, or 20%. It will make getting to the playoffs tough, but once you were in the playoffs would be much more fun. The other thing that popped into my head is that only 2 of the 8 teams in our conference are 'cap' teams.