Image courtesy of Cassie McLellan
The big news yesterday is the most obvious news is the league's new four conference re-alignment plan. For some teams, it's not exactly the greatest. Some teams have a ton of travel because of the long distances between division rivals like Florida and Edmonton, however, the pros do outweigh a lot of the cons. For central teams, they don't have to travel west nearly as much. Personally, I prefer the current 6 division-2 conference setup, however, i'm not really against this. However, I wanted to take a look at some of the pros and cons the realignment plan offers in terms of the Devils.
Pro: Favourable Inter-Divisional Travel Schedule
Dirk Hoag of On the Forecheck took a look at the average distance between the teams and their division rivals. The Devils had the second lowest average distance between rivals- with 173 KM. There's 36 games between these division rivals- so the travel schedule should be much lighter with their rivals.
Con: More or Longer West Coast Trips
The one downside is that with the Devils having a home-and-home with the remaining 23 teams, it means the Devils have 8 games against west coast teams on the west coast. They also have another 8 games against central teams in the central time zone. This would likely mean that they'd have a longer western road trip (i.e. 6 games out west) or multiple west coast trips (i.e. Western Canada one trip, California+ PHX/COL on another).
Pro: More Exposure
The Devils aren't a team that gets in the National spotlight alot. Less games against Canadian teams, which are usually televised in Canada but not the states is good because that means there should be a greater chance of being on National TV in America. More games against teams like the Red Wings, Capitals, Blackhawks and Sharks should mean that they have a greater chance of appearing on National TV- greater than if they had more games against the Panthers or Senators for example.
Con: Familiarity breeds contempt
The Devils division, which consists of the
Douchecanoes Rangers, Jerkstores Flyers, NBC and Versus' Favourite Team Penguins, the fragile goaltenders Isles, Second Round Exits Capitals and Hurricanes lol, isn't exactly a bad divison in terms of Rivals. The Devils retain their four Atlantic division rivals and gain two teams that have some sort of rivalry with the Devils. The whole problem is, that it will get boring just constantly booing these guys over and over again. Not only do the Devils have to face these teams a combined 36 times, they've also got another 4-14 games against these teams. It might be fun for a while, but eventually some of us will begin to just wonder " wait, why do we hate the Hurricanes again" just because it's the same old same old.
Pro and Con: Playoffs
Mathematically, the Devils chances of getting into the playoffs just jumped up by 4% (!). The only problem is that the already tough Atlantic Division gets even tougher with the addition of the Capitals and the Hurricanes. The Isles and Canes might not seem like much right now, but both have some talented young players, like Jeff Skinner and John Tavares. The Pens, Caps, Rangers and Flyers aren't pushovers and have lots of money to spend, so it's not like the Devils have it easy in this division.
Pro and Con: It may not happen
The NHLPA has to approve of it. If they don't, there's likely going to be a dispute leading to a new realignment plan. The BoG doesn't want to anger the NHLPA with the CBA expiring, which will add more tension between the two sides. The fact that it may not happen is a pro if you're against this realignment, while it's a con if you're for it.
What do you think?
Now it's your turn. What do you guys think of the radical realignment? Do you guys like it? Do you guys hate it? Thanks for reading