If you were unable to check out the Hot Stove on Hockey Night in Canada this past Saturday night, you missed out on an interesting update on the proposed realignment of the NHL over at CBC.ca. You can check out the video on that link, but the basic information that was provided are the proposed divisions in following chart:
|Eastern Conference 1||Eastern Conference 2||Western Conference 1||Western Conference 2|
|Carolina Hurricanes||Boston Bruins||Chicago Blackhawks||Anaheim Ducks|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||Buffalo Sabres||Colorado Avalanche||Calgary Flames|
|New Jersey Devils||Detroit Red Wings||Dallas Stars||Edmonton Oilers|
|New York Islanders||Florida Panthers||Minnesota Wild||Los Angeles Kings|
|New York Rangers||Montreal Canadiens||Nashville Predators||Phoenix Coyotes|
|Philadelphia Flyers||Ottawa Senators||St. Louis Blues||San Jose Sharks|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||Tampa Bay Lightning||Winnipeg Jets||Vancouver Canucks|
|Washington Capitals||Toronto Maple Leafs|
This is a pretty big difference from the previous proposed realignment, as there used to be 16 teams in the West as opposed to the East. The Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets end up moving East, and the Colorado Avalanche jump over to fill the void created by the departure of those two teams in 'Western Conference 1', which the Jets would be a part of.
The other interesting talk to come out of this proposal is the idea of some sort of "wild-card" playoff system that would help the two divisions with 8 teams even out their chances to make the playoffs. Recall that the top 4 teams in each of the divisions would make the playoffs. While the reports suggests that this wild-card format has not been decided upon but it might make for some interesting crossovers or play-ins.
***Edit 7:42 PM*** Insider Trading on TSN just reported this evening that only the top-3 teams in each conference would make the playoffs, and than the final 4 spots would be filled via cross-overs/wild-cards. That's an interesting twist.
So what say you, Jets fans? What do you think of the Red Wings and Blue Jackets being replaced with the Avalanche in the Jets proposed division? Do you look forward to the potential rivalries with the other Central Time Zone teams? Or do you long for the days of the old Smythe Division and are still disappointed that none of the Western Canadian teams would be in our division? Let us know in the comments section!
***UPDATE: 12:12PM Feb 26/13***
According to NHL memo sent to 30 teams, no longer is the idea to go to 4 conferences, but rather 2 conferences with two divisions each— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) February 26, 2013
The Eastern Conference would have the Atlantic and Central divisions, the Western Conference would have the Mid-West and Pacific divisions— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) February 26, 2013
Top 3 teams in each division make the playoffs. The remaining 4 spots go to wild-card teams, best two records left in each conference...— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) February 26, 2013
So you could have 5 teams make playoffs from one division and only 3 from one division...— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) February 26, 2013
Sounds like the Jets would face every Eastern team, once at home and once on the road. (32 games)
The Jets would face non-divisional Western Conference teams 3 times a year. Twice at home and once on the road or 1 and alternating year by tear. (21 games)
That leaves 29 games for divisional opponents, so likely 5 games vs opponents 5 opponents and 4 vs the other.
More detail will likely filter through and we must remember that this is a proposal. It isn't final.