With NHL Realignment Should NHL Change The Playoff Format?


My new NHL realignment and playoff format !!!

Now that the NHL and NHLPA have agreed to a new CBA the next order of business will be realignment.  How will the conferences and divisions look?   We know that the new look conferences won’t be implemented until the 2013/2014 season, but I think they will look something like this:

NHL_teams_and_conferences_map_-_2012-2013_realignment.svgWestern Conference

Pacific Division with Anaheim, Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose and Vancouver.
Central Division with Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, St.Louis and Winnipeg.

Eastern Conference

North Division with Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay and Toronto.
Atlantic Division with Brooklyn (aka NYI), Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburg and Washington.

There is a possibility of Columbus and Detroit changing places as both teams are concerned that too many of their televised road games in the west aren’t viewable to their fans because they start too late.   Columbus would probably benefit from moving to the Eastern Conference because their franchise isn’t as stable as Detroit’s.  There was an alleged promise to Detroit that they would be the first choice to move back to the Eastern Conference.   Detroit has been a good soldier and played in the west for a long time without making a stink so I think the NHL owes them.

What do you think about this alignment?   I don’t know if I want to see divisional playoffs creating a “Final 4” look or a conference playoff with an Eastern Conference and Western Champion like it is now.  Should we have 15 teams per conference with top 8 making playoffs or the top 6 with 2 wildcards?

Let’s do something radical!  How about this?

The top 9 teams in each conference make the playoffs with the 2 division winners being the 1 and 2 seeds.  We then have the 8th seed  and the 9th seed play a best of 3 with the 3 games being played in 4 nights.  Now the NHL should have no excuses for nixing this idea as the season usually ends the Sunday night and in most cases the first round of the playoffs start on Wednesday.  Seeds 8 and 9 play Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and at the league’s discretion could be ready to play the 1 seed on Friday or Saturday.  In most cases, the schedule gets a little messed up because of arena availability due to dual tenants.  They also try to schedule the juicy games for the big networks on the weekend.  You could still start the playoffs on Wednesday and Thursday anyway since the 2/7, 3/6 and 4/5 match-ups are set and are not impacted by the 8/9 series.  This worked in baseball with them adding the extra wild-cards and this kept  teams in the playoff race longer.

I think the NHL owes their fans this much at the least.  Now, all we have to do is get rid of the 3 point game or make a regulation win worth 3 points but I’ll leave that for next Mondays blog post.

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