I went on vacation for a few days only to return to find an NHL nothing like the state in which I left it. Apparently, the NHL's Board of Governors decided yesterday to radically realign the league from six divisions into four conferences.
And based on the emails I'm getting, a lot of you want to see Icethetics host a contest to name new conferences and create its trophies. Sadly, I have too much going on here already to conduct another contest, but I'm more than happy to at least offer this blog post so we can all share our opinions.
Here are how the new conferences break down:
If you're curious about my take on the new setup, here it is. It's annoying because I'm a Tampa Bay Lightning fan. If I weren't a Lightning fan, I'd have to call it perfect. Dallas, Columbus and Detroit should be beside themselves over not having to play so many games in the Pacific Time Zone. Most of the great rivalries are intact. It's fantastic.
But why do Tampa and Sunrise have to get lumped into the "Northeast Division" basically? And even as I ask the question, I know the answer. You can't break up Philly and Pittsburgh nor any of the New York area teams. You can't separate the eastern Canadian teams nor break up rivalries like Sabres/Leafs, Habs/Bruins or Penguins/Capitals (especially now that HBO just released the first 24/7 Winter Classic on DVD!).
I know everyone has there two cents on how to improve things for their own teams. And that nobody cares what anybody else things. But here's mine anyway. Move the Pennsylvania teams to Conference C and put Tampa Bay and Florida in Conference D. I know, it simply can't be done that way.
The way it is now is just sort of a geographical necessity. So like Boucher says, let's start building the new practice rink in Vermont. We'll be spending a lot of time up there next year. And we'll only play the Hurricanes as many times as we play the Canucks.
Though I suppose the good news out of all this for me personally is that now I'm guaranteed that the Lightning will visit my neck of the woods (Vancouver) at least once a season. This year, they're not making that trip at all thanks to the current setup. (Interestingly, however, I will still be seeing a Bolts-Canucks game this season.)
That's all. Your turn, now. How do you fix the new alignment? Or do you? And what do you name the new conferences? What about the trophies? And how should the third round of playoffs work?
Nevermind. The realignment plan is off, at least for 2012-13. The NHL didn't get consent from the NHLPA. The idea was kind of nice while it lasted though, wasn't it?