After four straight losses it might be nice to change the conversation for a little bit to a subject less contentious...realignment. Bob McKenzie went into this in a lengthy article back in October. Bettman also discussed the issue of realignment in his radio address Thursday.
Then last night on Hockey Night in Canada's Hot Stove they discussed a new possible plan that could be presented at the Board of Governors meeting this week. The guys over at Puck Daddy also gave their thoughts. Basically under this more radical plan things would break down as follows:
San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Colorado
Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Minnesota, Nashville, Columbus, Winnipeg, Dallas
Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Buffalo, Boston, Florida, Tampa Bay
At the very least it is interesting and different. The divisional opening two rounds of the playoffs is a plus. The big issue I have isn't the alignment itself, it is the scheduling of games during the regular season. From the writers at Litter Box Cats they write that under this proposal each team would have a home and home outside its division with remaining games being played within the division. So the Devils would play as many games against Montreal and Boston as they would against Phoenix and Vancouver. Deal breaker.
If the NHL is serious about this alignment, then I would hope they would change their stance on the scheduling. Something like this type of scheduling might help get the Eastern votes needed to pass.
For an Eastern conference team:
Six games within the division for a total of 36. Four games outside the division, yet within the conference for a total of 28. One game versus teams outside the conference with one year a division at home, the next year the division away for a total 16. For a grand total of 80 games. Then pick a team to have a home and home with.
For a Western conference team:
Six games within the division for a total of 42. Then three games outside the division, yet within the conference for a total of 24. (This gets tricky with three games but for example one year Detroit would play a home and home versus the other the division, plus four teams at home and four away versus the same division switching teams the following year) One game versus teams outside the conference with one year a division at home, the next year the division away for a total of 14. For a total of 80 games. Then pick a team to have a home and home with.
I would think that this would work on many levels. For the Eastern teams they keep basically their current scheduling with six and four conference games and could eliminate some trips with the West. For the Western teams they could eliminate some trips east and even eliminate some trips between their conference by going from the present four to three.For Eastern time zone teams in the West like Detroit and Columbus it would reduce their games in Mountain and Pacific time zones from 16 to 12.
Then the extra home and home could be played between outliers like Tampa and Florida or between conferences like Detroit and Toronto.
Whatever happens I hope that this issue gets resolved this week because the next Board of Governors meeting isn't until the All-Star break and I don't know what could possibly change between now and then as to why this can't be done now. Oh...right....Phoenix.....
What are your thoughts on this new plan presented on Hockey Night in Canada's Hot Stove? How about the scheduling of games based on that plan I presented above? Or do you have your own idea?