NHL To Make Major Realignments

Some good, some bad

(NJ.com) NHL officials approved a radical realignment plan today (late Monday) that will give the league four conferences instead of six divisions and guarantee home-and-home series among all teams. (big snip)

The new look has two conferences with seven teams all based in the Eastern time zone: the Devils, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, the Rangers, the Islanders, Washington and Carolina in one and Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Buffalo, Florida and Tampa Bay in the other.

The third conference consists of eight teams in the Eastern and Central time zones: Detroit, Columbus, Nashville, St. Louis, Chicago, Minnesota, Dallas and Winnipeg. The fourth conference has eight teams in the Mountain and Pacific time zones: Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Colorado.

While this is going to mean more travel for Eastern teams (I suggest using the old Division names. Patrick and Adams for the East, with the Conference using the old Prince Of Wales name.  Smythe and Norris for the West,  and use the old Campbell Conference name), it will help out the Western Conference teams, who had to travel A LOT.

But

…The top four teams in each conference will make the playoffs, with the first two rounds consisting of solely intraconference matchups. Bettman said he will consult with general managers in the spring before deciding whether to reseed the playoffs in the third round or to have pre-determined matchups.

I really do not like that. Take the top 8 in each Conference, with the division winners as the top seeds. Let them play as they do now. I thought it was very exciting to see a 7 or 8 upset the 1 or 2 seeds, and even go deep. In some cases, to the Cup. The Playoffs are often about who is going in hot. And the new format would keep division teams from playing each other in the Conference finals.

I do like having the Hurricanes in the same division as the Devils: there’s a rivalry there, more so from the ‘Cane’s side than Jersey side, but, Devils fans get up for Canes games, too. There’s also some bad blood going back years, to when Scott Stevens destroyed Shane Willis and Ron Francis in the Playoffs (not too mention beating the Canes). And the Canes stunned the Devils and knocked them out of the Playoffs with less than 30 seconds to go.

Now, as exciting as the shoot out is, can we ditch it, and go back to the old tie format?

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