I've been following the never ending quest of Jim Basille to beg, borrow or steal an NHL franchise to bring back to his hideout in Hamilton. Now I don't really have a vested interest in this soap opera since I'm not a fan of the Coyotes (although it seems that that wouldn't put me in the minority in Arizona), nor am I partial to ensuring a team relocates to Hamilton, Ont. (hell, I'm not sure I could even find it on a map), but my question is... which team gets to move to the Western Conference, how how would the league realign to accommodate 16 teams in the east and only 14 in the west?
The teams in the west are always grousing about the travel they must endure, and I can appreciate their argument. The Flyers can catch a train for games against the Rangers, Devils, Islanders, Capitals, and even the Bruins if they wanted to, and still make it home in time to watch the late news. Except for Anaheim when they play LA, no one in the west is really close to any other team. Back to back games with one at home and one on the road are murder. I'm sure the owners in the western conference aren't going to be happy about additional travel expenses to play a team even further away then it is now, and I'm damn sure that the owners now in the east aren't going to be happy about the possibility of being booted west.
I suppose the league could function with an unbalanced conference alignment, but then it would seem that teams in the west would have an unfair advantage as far as making the playoffs are concerned. 8 teams out of 14 would go as opposed to 8 out of 16 in the east. According to the owners, making the playoffs is important if a club expects to show a profit in any particular year. If that's the case, the owners in the east won't be happy about working at an economic disadvantage.
So if the Black(Berry) Knight is successful in his quest to join the NHL fraternity, I say force him to move the club to Winnipeg, or perhaps Yellow Knife, but keep the geographical distribution intact.
I'm curious as to what your suggestions would be...... and since I'm pretty close to New York, I'd be happy to pass them along to Mr. Buttman, er, I mean Bettman.