I’m starting this with a quote from Moneyball. Yes, I know it’s a baseball movie. No, I don’t care.
“The problem we’re trying to solve is that there are rich teams and there are poor teams, then there’s fifty feet of crap, and then there’s us.”
Brad Pitt’s character is describing his ball club, the Oakland A’s. Based on this, I propose the following quote to describe the realignment.
“There are good decisions and there are bad decisions. Then there’s the decisions Darcy Regier makes, and THEN there’s the 2013 NHL realignment decision.”
Can you tell that I think this decision is that made by individuals who are one chromosome short of dragging their knuckles on the ground?
I’m not just saying this because I don’t want to see the Sabres play the Red Wings more each year. I’m saying this because in all honesty, this decision is moronic.
There’s several problems with the realignment. I’m going to hit on each one, and then throw out the logical counter proposals.
First off, I know that something needed to happen to change the divisions/conferences. Having Winnipeg remain in the Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference can’t happen. It’s just not a logical move. This occurred the minute that Atlanta moved to Winnipeg. I understand this 100%. I’m not anti-realignment. I’m anti an unfair NHL.
The idea of regional divisions is fine. I’m not even opposed to going down to 2 divisions per conference. That’s fine by me. However, the concept of regional divisions seems to be lost. I can’t see how Tampa Bay and Florida should be in the “Central” division in the new Eastern Conference. I’m not saying don’t switch the teams divisions, I’m saying plan accordingly.
This is my BIGGEST issue with this new realigned NHL. It’s just not fair. 16 teams in the East, 14 in the West, 8 teams from each conference makes the playoffs. Don’t get me started on the whole “wild card” idea. My cat could come up with a better idea than this. How is it fair to have this happen?
I use 2 examples of other leagues who have realigned. It’s also important to note that these leagues moved to make it a balanced league, even conferences and divisions. First, the NFL in 2002 changed their alignment. The AFC had more teams than the NFC. So, they logically changed it by sending the Seattle Seahawks to the NFC. Balanced league, 16 AFC teams, 16 NFC teams. Second, MLB, and this is extremely current as in first season with new leagues. The National League used to have 16 teams, while the American League had 14 teams. The Houston Astro’s are being moved to the American League team, and now we have even leagues in baseball. Thus, even chances of making the playoffs.
Notice how the leagues went to even things out instead of making it unbalanced? That’s called progress and intelligence. You can come up with your own terminology for what the NHL is doing.
Having 16 in one conference and 14 in another just isn’t fair. I know that something needed to be done, but come on, at least make it fair for the teams. If I’m a player, I’d rather go to the Western Conference because I’m going to have a better shot of making the playoffs than if I play in the East.
What’s that you say? Make a better proposal? Fine, I’ve got 2 for you.
First one (and not my favorite).
Let’s say hypothetically the NHL is dead set on having uneven conferences. Fine. I’m ok with the Western Conference, those divisions are just fine. Instead of having Tampa Bay and Florida join the Central, they join the Atlantic, with Washington and Carolina. Then, put the Red Wings and the Blue Jackets in the Central. One more team will need to come join the Central. Due to everyone being very close geographically, it could be anyone. A rivalry needs to die in order for this to happen. I’d be as bold to say, send the Islanders over to the Central. Give the Isles a new chance to create some bad blood in a new division. This prevents the Devils vs Rangers rivalry to end, as does it prevent the Flyers vs Penguins to end. The Isles are the floater, and logical team to move.
I’m not really a fan of this one, but at least it makes a little more sense. However the biggest problem is that the conferences still aren’t even.
Second Proposal (Most logical so I feel)
This one is so simple, it’s going to blow your mind. It’s called let’s have the Winnipeg Jets, go to the Western Conference. Then, are you ready for this? I swear to God, this is a mind-numbing idea; The Nashville Predators join the Southeast.
I know that the conferences out West still aren’t the greatest. I understand that 100%. That’s just the way it is ladies and gentlemen. The current divisions in the West aren’t the best right now. Say the NHL actually did this (which they won’t, God forbid we make something simple), the divisions are even, and the conferences are fair. Here’s my “crazy division structure” for the Western Conference;
Pacific- Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, Phoenix Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks
Northwest- Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets, Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche
Central- Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars.
I know, it’s not the best for Dallas, but at least this one is somewhat logical! The conferences are even, and the divisions are somewhat geographically normal. No conference has the advantage, and the playoffs don’t need to be adjusted, because to be completely honest, the wild card concept in any sport but football, is just not smart.
Obviously, I’m not a fan of the realignment (could you tell?_. According to the current agreement, this will go into effect for the 2013-2014 season, through the 2014-2015 season when it will be re-evaluated. So, there’s one bright side with this...
Hockey fans will only have to watch 2 seasons of this atrocity.
Follow me on Twitter- @SabresBTB. I live chat during games, unless otherwise stated, and I love chatting with fans!!!