Monday, May 30, 2011

Random Thoughts on the Winnipeg Deal and NHL Divisions

I'm fine with the NHL taking off from Atlanta and moving back to Canada.  I think there were probably a few better candidates to move than the Thrashers, but I support the move.  My personal feeling has always been that the southern expansion was overdone.  For every good market in the south (Tampa Bay, Nashville, St. Louis, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Jose) there is a bad one (Carolina, Florida, Atlanta, Phoenix, Anaheim).  I think that having two teams each in Florida and Southern California was a hideously bad decision.

I think that my ideal solution would be to disband two teams, maybe move a few others and go ahead with four divisions of seven teams apiece.  The best candidates for that (now counting Atlanta as Winnipeg) would be Florida, Phoenix, Anaheim, New Jersey, and the New York Islanders.

If we were to cut the country in half around the eastern side of Kansas, we would be left with Buffalo, Boston, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York (R), New York (I), New Jersey, Washington, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Florida, Columbus, Detroit, Chicago, Minnesota, and St. Louis, Nashville (20 teams) in the east.  And Dallas, Winnipeg, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Jose, Anaheim, Colorado, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary (10 teams) in the West, a bit of a discreppancy.

If we take care of a couple of oversaturated markets by cutting the Ducks and the Panthers, and then move the Devils to Seattle, then we're left with 18 teams in the east and 10 teams in the west.  For rivalrys' sake we can let the west keep Detroit, Minnesota, Chicago, and St. Louis to makes things even and then realign the divisions.  (For the hell of it, I am going to highlight this year's playoff teams.)

Northwest:
1 - Vancouver - 117
8 - Calgary - 94
10 - Minnesota - 86
11 - Seattle - 81
12 - Winnipeg - 80
13 - Colorado - 68
14 - Edmonton - 62

Southwest:
2 - San Jose - 105
3 - Detroit - 104
4 - Phoenix - 99
5 - Los Angeles - 98
6 - Chicago- 97
7 - Dallas - 95
9 - St. Louis - 87

 Northeast:
2 - Boston - 103
7 - Montreal - 96
8 - Buffalo - 96
9 - New York (R) - 93
11 - Toronto - 85
13 - Ottawa - 74
14 - New York (I) - 73

Southeast:
1 - Washington - 107
3 - Philadelphia - 106
4 - Pittsburgh - 106
5 - Tampa Bay - 103
6 - Nashville - 99
10 - Carolina - 91
12 - Columbus - 81


Aside from LA to Detroit (which happens anyways), the travel is pretty manageable all around.  Most of the old rivalries are preserved and a few new ones are given more steam (Washington and Pittsburgh) by teams shifted into the same division.  We've lost two useless markets in Florida and Anaheim and made a play to erase the memory of the Sonics and shut the NBA out of Seattle, perhaps igniting a rivalry with Vancouver that could reach Buffalo - Toronto levels.

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