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Round Table Discussion: NHL Re-Alignment. Yay or Nay?

This is going to come to a shock of most of you out there, but occasionally Days of Y’Orr posts something over than things ripping on other teams. I know, I know, I’m a little confused, a little hungry, a little sweaty, kind of tired…I mean I’m a little confused too. Hey, it has to happen or Bloguin will just regard us as those punks from the Northeast. Today the DOY staff, Purrgeron included, talk about the NHL re-alignment plan. For those who are not in the know, the re-alignment will start next season with four conferences. Here’s a breakdown of everything regarding said re-alignment. Well, let’s get this party started.

Jon: For the most part I like it. Sometimes change is good and can bring a little excitement to the game and I also think this will make a lot of the rivalries more intense. I like that this opens the door for more interesting playoff match ups and some potential Stanley Cup match ups we would not have been able to see before. After last night’s game, imagine the Bruins and Penguins meeting for the Cup? We’d have to call in sick to work for the entire duration of the series. I also love that under the new format you could essentially get a Stanley Cup Final between the two best teams in the league rather than one mandatory team from the East and West. 

What don’t I like? As a season ticket holder I don’t like that fact that I’ll have to sit through extra Panthers games every year! 😉

I was also hoping the rumored conference that contained Boston, Montreal, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia was true because it would have been awesome. Soooooooooo much bad blood in that division. Every game would be a must watch. I really think the NHL dropped the ball on that one. But oh well. On the flip side, I think it REALLY sucks that we’re only going to see Pittsburgh and Philly twice a year now instead of four times a year. Those games are always great so as fans we’re getting screwed on that one. 

I’m sure we’ll have more to bitch about once we see how it actually plays out.

Pizz: Oh boy, I know just from talking with my fellow DOY brothers that at least some of us are totally on board with this, which will probably make for a boring round table because I am too.  There are a lot of people nitpicking things like some teams needing to travel more, etc.  But that’s really not any different than right now, just different teams.  For once, I actually agree with something Gary Bettman says (cue the angry mob attacking me with pitchforks and torches):

“This is not a subject that everybody is going to get their first choice on, what you try to do is come up with something that everybody can live with, get comfortable with and understands the value of. Because if you ask 30 clubs, you’d probably get 30 different solutions”

He should have followed that up with a firm “So suck it!”

As a fan and a season ticket holder, I love that we’re guarunteed a home game against every team in the NHL and look forward to the chance to build a rivalry with Tampa Bay based on the playoff series last year. Plus, the potential Stanley Cup Finals match ups are enough to make my gibblets tingle with excitement. I admit that I don’t like only seeing Philly and Pittsburg a couple times a season, but there was no way a realignment was going to be perfect, and I think any the cons to this plan are just a trade off to an otherwise solid setup.

Justin: I like it for the most part. I like that the Bruins are still in a division/conference/whatever with the Habs, Leafs, Sens and Sabres. It means plenty of trolling time for us and, really, the NHL wouldn’t be the same if the Bruins didn’t face those guys several times a year. The Bruins division/conference/whatever has every team I don’t like… and then the Panthers. Oh well. Maybe we can trade the Panthers for the Canucks.

I also like the idea that the Bruins could face teams in the Cup Final that they never could before. Those semi-finals and Cup finals now are going to be really interesting.

What I’m bummed about is not getting to play other high caliber teams as often. Bruins won’t see teams like the Flyers and Pens but twice a year. Gotta wonder how that’ll affect teams when the playoffs start. You get used to beating up on the same 6-7 teams all year, you beat up on them in the divisional/conference/whatever tourney and then you finally take on teams you’ve only faced twice before that season. It’ll definitely make things interesting.

I’ll be more pissed if the Bruins division isn’t called Adams.

Pez: I love it.

I love it so much I want to buy it chocolate candies in a heart shaped box and make little divisions with it.

I think this does a few things for the NHL.

1. It allows for rivalries like Boston/Montreal, Pittsburgh/Philly, Detroit/Chicago, etc to mean more. Instead of playing the Canadiens 7 or 8 times, they’ll be playing them three times, which make the games more weighted. It also allows the cultivation of the Toronto rivalry (which has been in the slow cooker for a few seasons now) because there is more weight to these games.

2. It allows Florida and Tampa to be relevant. Florida is a good hockey team now that they were forced to spend money. At the time of writing this (12/6, 3pm) Florida is sitting in thirdp lace in the Eastern Conference. Their star, Kris Veersteeg, has 12 goals (good for 16th overall) and based on their contracts and the ages of some of their guys, they’ll be relevant for awhile. This conference also allows Tampa to brew rivalries in Montreal, Toronto and Boston – established hockey markets. Last season the Bruins and Lightning went 7 games in a fantastic Eastern Conference Finals.

3. These new conferences will allow for some dream Stanley Cup Finals. Vancouver vs. Chicago. Boston vs. Pittsburgh. Detroit vs. Colorado. Dream match-ups. Would it suck to see a team like Anaheim vs Winnipeg? Probably, but how realistic is this?

I know a lot of people are complaining about the “competitive balance” of each conference, but it’s not really different than it is now. How many times has Winnipeg (probably a bad choice here), St. Louis or Minnesota made the playoffs in the past 5 years? Under the new conferences, here’s how the playoffs would look.

Conference A: Vancouver, Phoenix, San Jose and Los Angeles
Conference B: Minnesota, Dallas, Chicago, Detroit
Conference C: Boston, Florida, Buffalo, Toronto
Conference D: Pittsburgh, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Washington

Under the current format, only one of those teams aren’t in the playoffs: Washington.

So if we’re to believe there’s a competitive imbalance, I’m just not seeing it. For a good part of the decade, a lot of these teams were in the playoffs anyways. From what I can see the only argument it eliminates is a situation where a team has more points but is seeded lower than another team leading a division.

Purrgeron: Meow.

Four Yays and a Meow. What do you think? Leave your answer in the comments below.