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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