Yes, I said it. I’m a fan of the NHL’s realignment. Wanna fight about it?
Well, we’re not gonna fight about it. Because I’m giving my opinion, which means I’m right.
Let’s outline some of the arguments against it that I’ve seen, and why they’re wrong, followed by why I like them.
You can find the new division/conferences here.
1) The Devils will play their “rivals” less!!!
While this may be true to an extent, they’re actually going to play their “rivals” more! While games against the Rangers or Flyers will come only four or five times a season, I’m all for creating more rivalries! Divisional games against the Caps? Sign me up! There will actually be 30 divisional games now, as opposed to 24 with the old alignment.
Carolina and New Jersey already have a semi-rivalry, so throwing them into the division? SOLD!
Columbus… they are a young, up-and-coming team. Create a new rivalry? GIMME MORE!
Oh, let’s not forget Detroit joining the Eastern Conference.
Playing them more often, and possibly facing them in the Eastern Conference Finals?!? HOLD ME, BABY JESUS, I’M SHAKING WITH EXCITEMENT!
2) It’s unfair to Tampa and Florida!!!!
Really? Under what realignment plan would it have been fair for them? Yes, keeping them in a division with Carolina and moving Nashville to the east would have been simple and possibly made more sense, but this is the NHL, there’s no room for making sense.
They are two teams that are isolated in their location. Yes, they have to travel further to play divisional games, but so do the teams traveling to them. There are these things called “airplanes” now that get people to their destination in a rather short period of time. They’ll be fine.
I’ve also seen some people say they could have put Tampa and Florida in the division with the Devils, and move Pittsburgh and Columbus to Division C.
Split up Pittsburgh and Philly? Are you insane? Have you learned nothing from the lockout? Cash money, son… that’s what it’s all about.
3) The number of teams in each conference is unbalanced. This is not fair!!!!
This only means there will likely be expansion (Seattle..a second team in Toronto…a good team in Vancouver…whatever). It will even out eventually. We’ll all be okay.
4) This wild card business is so stupid!!!!!
I’m gonna drop a bombshell on you right now: There are only three guaranteed spots right now: the three division winners. The remaining FIVE playoffs spots right now go to the remaining teams with highest point total regardless of division. That’s sorta like wild cards!!
Right now, you can have all five teams from a division make the playoffs, with just one team from the remaining divisions.
Under the new realignment, you can have five teams from a division, but THREE teams from the other division will make it in. That opens things up to more interest from fans, in my opinion.
5) The playoff format is stupid!!!!!!!
I’m back and forth on this, but I don’t really mind it. While the current format could give you tremendous rivalry matchups in the conference finals – like last season’s Devils vs Rangers ECF (Henrique… It’s Over!!) – the new format will give you a true Conference Final, with a team from each division… but still leaves open the possibility for those rivalry matchups (I think…)!
Example (let me know if I’m off with this… this shit’s confusing):
Five teams from Division D make it (top 3 plus 2 wild cards), three from Division C.
#2 vs #3 in Divisions C and D.
#1 Division C vs #5 Division D (wild card).
#1 Division D v #4 Division D (wild card).
Both #2 seeds win, both wild cards win (unlikely, sure, but possible).
You now have 3 Division D teams, 1 Division C team.
You can then end up with two Division D teams in the conference final. …. I think….?
Anyway, don’t fear change. I know it’s scary, but we’ll all be okay. Remember when the lockout was all RAGEFACE and then we were all okay?
This is less than that. And it creates new rivalries.
Just think of the craziness that will be the Nashville v Winnipeg rivalry!
There, I’ve just changed your mind on this. You’re welcome.