Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Realignment, Peerless Style

Hey, everyone else has done it (including this recent edition), and there isn't a lot else to talk about, so...

We're not bothering with waiting for the NHL to decide to go the way of the NFL and 32 teams, we just went ahead and settled this Phoenix mess (they're now Hamilton) and put teams in Las Vegas and Kansas City to put that to rest, too.

Oh, and enough of the geography lesson every time I look at the standings. We want some old school conference and division names...and speaking of divisions, our playoffs include the first two rounds as intra-divisional play. There is nothing like beating up on your divisional opponents for a few games in the playoffs to build up that hate among players and fans that seems to be missing from too many divisions (well, the Southeast, anyway).

Hey, my realignment, my rules.

...unless you don't like it, then I'll blame it on Fearless and Cheerless.


GM said...

I actually think that is one of the best ones I have seen so far.

I agree with the 4 division format and like the AHL I think the first two rounds should be intra-division. It promotes and builds great rivalries that bring people to the arenas. Could you imagine playing the Flyers and/or Penguins in the first or second round of the playoffs every year? That would create some good old fashioned hate.

Anonymous said...

Or even Carolina in the 1st or 2nd round each year. Caps vs Carolina in an early playoff round each year would definitely build hatred.

Anonymous said...

I'm also in favor of a four-division, 32-team league.

I'd quibble a little with the specific assignments; as a Blues fan, I want to keep my two biggest rivals (Chicago and Detroit) in the Norris. Rotate Tampa and Florida to the Patrick, Columbus and Carolina to the Adams, and Chicago/Detroit into the Norris. But this is all pipe-dreaming until the league buys into more expansion, I guess.

I also love the intradivisional playoff format. The rivalries we fans hold dearest are the ones that are forged in the passion and pressure of a do-or-die playoff series. No regular-season scheduling can replicate that atmosphere.

One big addition I would make: lop a few games off the regular-season schedule, and add another playoff round. Yes, this means that all 32 teams would now qualify for the playoffs every year. But there's a distinct correlation between the cities with extended playoff droughts and the cities whose teams are in the most financial stress. Phoenix and Florida haven't seen the playoffs since before the lockout. Columbus just made the playoffs for the first time in its entire history. Giving those beleaguered fans a taste of real (read: playoff) hockey would be a significant boost to the efforts to attract and retain new fans.

So, in summation: four 8-team divisions. A 78-game regular season. Five playoff rounds, the first two being intradivisional. Conference quarterfinalists are seeded 1-4 by regular-season finish.