It looks like everyone is talking about realignment again, probably because of those shots of the new Eastern and Western conferences, division, whatever they are actually called. Despite that fact that every NHl related website in the North America is covering the realignment I wanted to voice my own thoughts on what this plan.
The teams moving eastwards are highlighted in yellow and surprise, surprise. Everyone knew that if any team in Western conference needed to move it was Columbus. While the organization can be a bit of a mess at times, dueling it out in the West through three time zones was not helping in the least. There is also little surprise in see the Red Wings prance out of the Central division and into the glorious bright sun that is the eastern half of the NHL. Fans and pundits widely acknowledged the behind-the-scenes clout that Detroit had when it came to realignment talks, and folks were a bit shocked to see the Red Wings stay put during the initial plan that sent only the Blue Jackets east. The league followed the money trail and pitched the Wings into a situation where TV executives and the NHL while finally be able to build additions onto their vacation homes using nothing but bricks of spare cash and the soon to be tangible apathy that the sports media will have towards any team not in the eastern time zone.
And now for the fourteen teams in the "Western Side" of the realignment. It would be fourteen teams since the NHL would probably want to cram as many teams in the Eastern Conferences as possible. Chicago remains as the only Original Six team in the West and all but guarantees that we won't anything out of Conferences 3 and 4 that isn't Chicago versus Vancouver. On a less annoying track, the thing that most people are discussing is playoffs with 7 versus 8 teams. We've heard about wild cards and intra-conference playoffs, which is all great and I couldn't really care less. Give me good hockey and let me hate Winnipeg. If the league is every serious about breaking into a market like Seattle, Portland, or... Vegas? Then there is certainly room to add teams. But more issues crop up if something goes wrong.
What if the Coyotes are finally forced to relocate? There are only so many places that they can go without missing too much of a beat and most of those locations fall squarely in the magic Eastern Time Zone that defines the new Conferences. Who gets chucked westwards? I feel like with this realignment plan the league has said that they are going to pour money into Glendale until the Coyotes win a Stanley Cup, and also that they don't see the league expanding anytime soon.
Screw realignment. It shouldn't be this complicated, but good for the league and their revenues.