Realignment argument: Bring back old divisions?

Realignment argument: Bring back old divisions?
February 13, 2013, 2:15 pm
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Caps finally break through on the road

A little over a year ago, Caps fans got all excited about the prospect of returning to a division with their geographical rivals from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and New York.

Those hopes were extinguished quickly by the NHL Players’ Association, which flatly rejected the Board of Governors’ proposed realignment.

“They realigned everything without our consent so that was the biggest thing,” Capitals player rep Jason Chimera said earlier this week. “I think it’s supposed to be a partnership and you want to have some say in some things.

“They just kind of threw it at us and said, ‘Here it is’ and we didn’t have a say in it. I think they’re working together on it now, which is good. We should be building things together now and for realignment it’s important to work together on it, too.”

The NHL and its players’ association have spent much of this week hammering out how the league should look next season and the models keep coming up the same as last year’s proposal.

In that scenario, the Winnipeg Jets [nee Atlanta Thrashers] would move from the Eastern Conference to the Western Conference, creating a 16-team West and a 14-team East:

Eastern Conference

Group A

  • Washington
  • Philadelphia
  • NY Rangers
  • NY Islanders
  • New Jersey
  • Carolina
  • Pittsburgh

Group B

  • Boston
  • Toronto
  • Montreal
  • Ottawa
  • Florida
  • Tampa Bay
  • Buffalo 

Western Conference

Group C

  • Phoenix
  • Colorado
  • San Jose
  • Los Angeles
  • Anaheim
  • Edmonton
  • Vancouver
  • Calgary

Group D

  • St. Louis
  • Winnipeg
  • Chicago
  • Nashville
  • Detroit
  • Dallas
  • Minnesota
  • Columbus

The players have two issues with the proposed realignment. One is the lack of competitive balance, with eight of 16 teams making the playoffs in one conference and eight of 14 making the post-season in the other.

The other is the amount of travel required for a team like the Columbus Blue Jackets, who would be required to leave their time zone for almost every road game.

“In Columbus it seemed like you were jumping time zones every time,” said Chimera, who played parts of five seasons in Columbus before getting traded to the Caps. “In the East you don’t get that as much. It’s almost ridiculous how much some teams travel way more than others. You want to have that competitive balance and you don’t want to have one team have an advantage just because of travel.”

With all of that in mind here is our own proposed solution that should keep teams, players and fans happy, with a nod to historical divisional references:

Eastern Conference

Patrick Division

  • Washington 
  • Pittsburgh 
  • Philadelphia
  • N.Y. Rangers 
  • New Jersey 
  • N.Y. Islanders 
  • Florida
  • Tampa Bay 

Adams Division

  • Boston 
  • Buffalo 
  • Detroit 
  • Montreal 
  • Ottawa 
  • Toronto
  • Carolina 

Western Conference

Smythe Division 

  • Phoenix
  • Colorado
  • Anaheim 
  • Los Angeles 
  • San Jose 
  • Calgary 
  • Edmonton 
  • Vancouver

Norris Division

  • Nashville 
  • Chicago 
  • Columbus 
  • Dallas 
  • Minnesota 
  • St. Louis 
  • Winnipeg 

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