Toronto Maple Leafs
New York Rangers
New York Islanders
New Jersey Devils
Tampa Bay Lightning
St. Louis Blues
Columbus Blue Jackets
Detroit Red Wings
San Jose Sharks
Los Angeles Kings
That put fours teams in one division, three divisions in each conference. Now I know many purists are going to complain that I turned it into a bus league, but in my opinion, one thing the current NHL is lacking that was present before, was rivalries. Despite seeing a team in your current division six times, the rivalry is not there unless you are geographically close – for the most part. There is of course the exception to the rule.
One thing I pondered is a Canadien Division – through that one out though because I couldn’t see the travel logistic of Vancouver playing Montreal that many times in the course of a season. It is, after all, a business. Some decisions have to have more weight than hockey. Another division I gave some thought to was an original six division, through that out as well, because I needed a four team division format.
One thing that I struggled with was putting all of the Canadien teams into one division (East, Division 1 and West, Division 3). I had a thought the other day of how long it has been since a Canadien team won a Stanley Cup. The 1992-1993 Montreal Canadiens were the last Canadien holders of the title (doesn’t that give us the right to move the Stanley Cup’s home to the United States?) Consider the divisions the teams north of the border are in:
Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal - Northeast Division. Probably one of the stronger division in hockey today. Despite the fact that Toronto has been horrible since, well lets go with my entire life. Ottawa and Montreal always had Buffalo and Boston to contend with.
Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver have Minnesota and Colorado to deal with. Since most Canadien teams were in the same division, it was only fair to keep them that way in my system.
Now that I have my teams in place and properly aligned, I will tackle the schedule – because it could be a nightmare. Tune in this week for Expansion and Realignment Part 2 when I discuss schedules.