So I got into a discussion with a couple of people on the old twitter machine about NHL realignment now that the Winnipeg Jets are on their way back(side note: if True North calls them something besides the Jets that would be so stupid. The fans are Jets, and once you’re a jet you’re a Jet all the way). The discussion spiraled out of control into some discussion about the overall strength of the NHL. The guys on twitter want the NHL to contract a couple of teams, where as I think the NHL should expand. The game is growing. More and more kids are playing. Just signed a big TV deal. More teams=more fans=more money=a better league. It’s just so simple. Here is what I am proposing to “fix/enhance” the NHL.
Add two more teams bringing the total to 32. I propose that the two new cities should be Seattle and Quebec City.
- Seattle is a major US Market with corporations like Boeing, Apple, and Starbucks that would be able to support a team financially.
- The NBA packed up and left so hockey would be the only show in town
- The WHL team does well in Seattle
- It would be a nice geographical rival for the Vancouver Canucks
- It’s a great sports town. Even the MLS team gets 18K fans a game
- Building a new state-of-the-art stadium
- It was always a great hockey market and many of the reasons why they had to leave before have been resolved(exchange rate, salary cap, venue)
- It would just be sweet, who are we kidding. Great colors, great rivalry with Montreal, and I love the odd occasion where the only broadcast they have for the Canadiens is the french feed on NHL Center-Ice. I don’t speak a word of french, but I find it entertaining and having a second french team would make that situation far more likely.
Some of these cities just aren’t working. Phoenix is a mess and Miami is the worst sports town in America. Time to just cut bait and find new cities for those clubs. The Islanders need a new venue too and they should really just move to Brooklyn and share that brand new building with the Nets. Brooklyn is kind of an island, right? Name still works. For relocation cities, I would say Southern Ontario and Houston. Houston is an enormous market with big money and some hockey history.
In this scenario the NHL would have two more teams and 4 new cities. I propose 4 divisions of eight. Naming the divisions after the four greatest hockey players in history; Orr, Lemieux, Howe, and Gretzky. The divisions would be as follows:
- Quebec City
- Southern Ontario
- New Jersey
- New York Rangers
- New York Islanders
- Tampa Bay
- Saint Louis
- San Jose
- Los Angeles
84 games with a somewhat balanced schedule. Each team plays 4 games against their division (7×4=28), 3 games against the other division in your conference (3×8=24). The teams would just alternate years where one team has the extra home game. Then a home and home against every team in the other conference (2×16=32). Pretty sure that is a total of 84 games(28+24+32=84). Everyone plays everyone and I don’t have to wait 3 years to see Crosby come through Chicago only to be out with a concussion.
Rivalries are born in the playoffs. I want to create scenarios to make rivalries happen more often. The top 4 teams in each division make the playoffs. For the playoffs, I would like there to be essentially four mini conferences. Top seed plays the 4th seed and no re-seeding. Teams would have to beat their division rivals in the playoffs to get to the Eastern or Western Conference Finals.
This is pretty much genius and how Gary Bettman should play it. Somebody forward this to him please.
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After Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, I did a post on why I hate the Canucks. Well, one post on this subject isn’t nearly enough. This series has brought to light everything that is wrong with Vancouver. Every time I feel like I have reached a point where I can’t hate them any more than I already do, the Canucks baffle me and reach a new low. I was always acutely aware of their on-ice act. Whining, chirping, diving, flying elbows to the head, hair pulling, biting(well biting is a new one, but not shocking coming from scum like Burrows) etc were all to be expected when the Vancouver Canucks were on the schedule. However, I had no idea that they were this smug and this arrogant.
I am paraphrasing here, but these are some direct quotes from the Canucks after their Game 5 win:
“Look, it doesn’t matter that I gave up 12 goals in games 3 and 4…I am better than Tim Thomas. I would have saved that one he let in. It was an easy save. I am not going to sit here and keep giving Thomas compliments when he hasn’t said one nice thing about me all series. Tim Thomas is my hero and it really hurts my feelings.”–Roberto Luongo
“If I had a time machine, I’d still launch myself into Nathan Horton’s skull. Wouldn’t change a thing. It was only two seconds late and he shouldn’t have been looking at a teammate when trying to get ready for a return pass. Its Horton’s fault I tried to give him brain damage. I am the victim here. The NHL isn’t consistent with their punishments. I mean Burrows bites a guy and gets nothing, and I try to decapitate a guy and I get 4 games? How is that fair?”–Aaron Rome
“The fact that the Sedins haven’t scored one point and are like minus 23 combined for the series, doesn’t mean that they aren’t playing well or that Chara is shutting them down completely.”–Elaine Vigneault
If those three direct quotes didn’t convince you that the Vancouver Canucks are not only gutless, but also smug and arrogant maybe the story the Boston Globe is breaking will do the trick. Not only did the Canucks plan a parade that would take place after Game 5 victory, but they also tried to sell the broadcast rights to the event. So basically the Canucks just thought they could roll over the Bruins when it took them 6 games to beat Nashville, and 7 games to beat the Blackhawks. Arrogant. Hey guess what Vancouver…nobody wants to watch your stupid parade that’s 40 years in the making(that probably won’t even happen). America hates you, the rest of Canada hates you, Sweden probably hates you, so you’ll probably end up having to put it on Vancouver Public access TV or something. Maybe U-stream.
DROP THE PUCK. I am ready for blood. Rise up Boston. Bruins 4, Nucks 1. So it was written, so let it be done.
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I am not going to sit here and say I told you so, but I totally did. The Canucks are a joke. The softest team in the league. Unworthy of being in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Canucks are a classic “fake tough” team. They will push you and try to get under your skin by diving, chirping, biting, throwing head shots, and complaining. If you stand up to them and push back at them they will completely crumble. The Bruins took it to the Canucks physically and they whimpered away.
NHL Network was really rushing to the defense of the Canucks last night. “Kesler must be hurt. Luongo has vertigo. Burrows is menstruating, blah blah blah”. Truth of the matter is that this is just who the Canucks are. They are a group of cowards who barely beat an injury depleted Blackhawks team in a rebuilding year. They just suck.
Now I even think Vancouver is delusional. Bieksa called Tim Thomas “leaky” in the post game and said that they were showing him too much respect. Yeah, real leaky goalie in net for the Bruins. The Canucks have scored under 2 goals in three of the 4 games and on top of that Thomas has more hits in the series than the Sedin Sisters combined. Showing him too much respect? How, by trying to slash the stick out of his hand and running him every chance they get? Burrows even tried to fight Thomas. Who fights a goalie? Burrows is pathetic.
The only chance the Canucks have to salvage this series is to start Cory Schneider, but even the Boston native Schneider sounded like he wanted to part of the Bruins. “None of the goals were Roberto’s fault. He deserves to be in there for game 5.” Come on now, Cory. You went to Phillips Andover and graduated from BC with honors in 3 years, you’re smarter than that. Luongo’s legs were more open than Lindsay Lohan’s on the Peverly goal. Ryder’s shot looked like a peewee shot it. The only goal that wasn’t on Luongo was Peverly’s second goal. Other than that Luongo was responsible. Maybe Schneider doesn’t want to alienate his hometown team. Maybe he is afraid of the Bruins. Maybe he is just as delusional as the rest of teammates.
This series is over. I originally predicted the Bruins winning in 7 games, but now I don’t think it will take that long. Long live the Original 6. AMERICA.
PS I love Milbury in between periods. Calls the Canucks “smug and arrogant” during game 3 and has the line of the year when he referred to the Sedin Sisters as “Thelma and Louise”. Just perfect. If NBC could replace Pierre McGuire with Darren Pang it would be the greatest hockey broadcast crew ever assembled.
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That felt great. The Stanley Cup Finals has displayed to the greater hockey world what the Vancouver Canucks are all about. They love to chirp, they play dirty, the dive, they bite, and they throw gutless blind hits to the head. Finally, somebody besides the Chicago Blackhawks has the sand to stand up to the Canucks and punish them for disrespecting the game of hockey. Now the Bruins have discovered the final piece to the puzzle that will let them beat Vancouver. If you punish them physically, out work them, and frustrate them…the Canucks will lose their cool, take dumb penalties, and quit. Luongo looked completely rattled for the last 40 minutes.
Last night’s game was an absolute beat down. The Bruins physically and mentally dominated the Canucks from the second period on. I feel vindicated by this series and I am 100% on the Bruin bandwagon. The Bruins are the opposite of Vancouver in so many ways. They have tough guys who are confrontational, but they are more than willing to answer the bell when challenged. I love the way they play. Even Tim Thomas got into the hitting game last night when he checked one of the Sedin Sisters.
The Bruins most likely will not score in abundance like they did in game 3, but they need to duplicate the level of intensity they brought for the duration of the series. They are still trailing and they must continue to attack Vancouver across all 200 feet of the ice surface. I was completely wrong about Shawn Thornton. I wanted Seguin in the lineup and I undervalued what Thornton brings to his teammates with his toughness and energy. Thornton is just flat-out scary and the ref tossing him out of the game mid way through the 3rd period may have save somebody’s life.
I have one final thought on last night’s game. Game exemplified why I love hockey and the NHL more than any sport. The NHL has an element of frontier justice. Burrows was a punk(and a difference maker) so Shawn Thornton smashed him early in the game to set the tone. Burrows takes a swipe at Tim Thomas late, so Milan Lucic turns into hockey’s version of Wyatt Earp and doles out the punishment immediately behind the net. No other sport or league has this mentality of self policing and standing up for your teammates. I can’t wait for Game 4 as I am sure the hatred between the teams is about to boil over.
Bruins in 7
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