Tuesday, 6 December 2011

NHL Realignment Produces Clear Advantage For Some

The clear winners of the conference realignment in my eyes are the so-called Atlantic teams: the New York and New Jersey axis, along with Pittsburgh, Philly, Washington and Carolina. Their conference is grouped very close geographically, as opposed to the other Eastern Conference. They are also lucky in that they are in a seven-team conference, so they will have an easier time making the playoffs than the 8-team conferences.

The Western groupings will have a better time of it than they do now, but will still travel more than the Eastern teams. That's kind of inevitable given the human geography of North America, the wide open West just isn't as densely populated.

The odd grouping will be the Northern teams lumped in with the Florida teams. That will entail more travel for the Canadiens, but in the near future it will be against traditional weak-sisters teams, and I suspect that the Florida teams will not turn into consistent powerhouses for various reasons (fanbase, financing, climate, etc.)

Overall, we have to believe that this system will be an improvement, in that most teams see it as a positive move, and that the fans will get to see a greater variety of teams without sacrificing regional rivalries.

Chalk one up on the plus side for Gary Bettman, and make it a big mark, since there's a lot of empty room in that column and the other side is way more crowded, it's looking pretty lopsided on that toteboard.

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