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Realignment/Scheduling


metzgerism
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Today's San Jose Mercury News (yes, I'm a local Sharks fan) had a story about the upcoming board of Governor's meeting @ Pebble Beach (about 90 minutes away). It says that the chief concerns are the sale of the Preds and the adoption of a new schedule. Here are the proposals:

BETTMAN'S IDEA (the lockout year schedule) - 82 games

24 divisional games (6/team)

40 conference games (4/team)

18 interconference games (2 vs. three, 1 vs. twelve)

RED WINGS' IDEA - 84 games (back to the pre-1995 lockout number)

24 divisional games (6/team)

30 conference games (3/team)

30 interconference games (2/team)

DAN RUSANOWSKY'S IDEA (probably not his, he's the Sharks PxP announcer)

32 divisional games (8/team)

50 interdivisional/interconference games (2/team)

Opening the discussion, I will edit later (I have work) with my scheduling and realignment ideas.

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I'd go with Bettman's choice from your list...

but i say lets go back to four divisions and get two more teams in there(or two less for that matter)...and make the playoffs the division rivalry like the good old days of the smythe, norris, adams and patrick!

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I'd go with Bettman's choice from your list...

but i say lets go back to four divisions and get two more teams in there(or two less for that matter)...and make the playoffs the division rivalry like the good old days of the smythe, norris, adams and patrick!

Yeah, I think they should ditch 2 teams to go down to 28, then have four 7-team divisions. 24 teams is probably the best, but they'll never drop that many teams. And bring back the historic names...

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I don't think that the NHL would agree to retraction, so I'm strictly talking about with the 30 current teams.

I crunched some numbers - the most likely I think is 4 divisions (two of 8, two of 7), since the Pacific Division would consist only of teams in the Pacific and Mountain time zones. Here is what I came up with:

1 game vs. each team in a non-conference division (7-8 games)

2 games vs. each team in the other non-conference division (14-16 games)

3 games vs. each team in the other conference division (21-24 games)

5-6 games vs. each team in own division (35-39 games)

You switch non-conference divisions to play twice each year, so it's a pretty odd looking schedule because the divisions are not even, but I do believe that it works out pretty well.

---

My other idea, which I prefer but doesn't look great geographically, is five divisions of 6 teams. Depending on choice, either one division should be the original six OR canadian teams. Here is the schedule:

6 games vs. each team in own division (30 games)

2 games vs. each other team (48 games)

4 at-large games (probably vs. same-finishing teams from previous season)

Playoffs would consist of the top 2 in each division (10 teams) and 6 wild cards. And yes, teams from the same division CAN meet in the Stanley Cup Final.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I suggest 4 divisions, 30 divisional games, 40 inter-divisional games, 56 inter-infra-divisional-conferencial games, 89 inter-minor-leagues games...Heck, how could the NHL season structure be so complicated ?? We're still talking about HOCKEY, right ??? As far as I know, hockey is a nice sport with simple rules, so let's make the schedule simple too, at least easy to understand. Forget about the inter-conference games, forget about the divisional games : we've got 30 teams, splitted in two conferences (East and West) of 15 teams. Seriously, what else do we need ? Each team plays 84 games, meeting the other teams in their conference three times at home and three times on the road. Top eight teams in number of points are offered a place in playoffs, with seed advantage for top three teams etc.

So, convinced :D ?

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I suggest 4 divisions, 30 divisional games, 40 inter-divisional games, 56 inter-infra-divisional-conferencial games, 89 inter-minor-leagues games...Heck, how could the NHL season structure be so complicated ?? We're still talking about HOCKEY, right ??? As far as I know, hockey is a nice sport with simple rules, so let's make the schedule simple too, at least easy to understand. Forget about the inter-conference games, forget about the divisional games : we've got 30 teams, splitted in two conferences (East and West) of 15 teams. Seriously, what else do we need ? Each team plays 84 games, meeting the other teams in their conference three times at home and three times on the road. Top eight teams in number of points are offered a place in playoffs, with seed advantage for top three teams etc.

So, convinced :D ?

No, because then you don't have a league. You have two leagues, which is similar to what we have now, operating under the same rules of play but not the same kind of travel duress.

My main arguments for one league are this: top 2 teams, regardless of division, could have a chance to meet in the Finals, and the travel woes of the Western Conference could possibly be alleviated. To make no conferences would make the bracket more accurate, and also would even out the imbalance created by 17 Eastern Time Zone clubs.

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No, because then you don't have a league. You have two leagues, which is similar to what we have now, operating under the same rules of play but not the same kind of travel duress.

My main arguments for one league are this: top 2 teams, regardless of division, could have a chance to meet in the Finals, and the travel woes of the Western Conference could possibly be alleviated. To make no conferences would make the bracket more accurate, and also would even out the imbalance created by 17 Eastern Time Zone clubs.

Yeah, I understand, but is it really so "practical" ? I mean, one global league is the best solution but the travel / time zones issues are really annoying in this situation. Can you be more precise please ?

And what would be exactly the Playoffs format ?

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Yeah, I understand, but is it really so "practical" ? I mean, one global league is the best solution but the travel / time zones issues are really annoying in this situation. Can you be more precise please ?

And what would be exactly the Playoffs format ?

Playoffs, top 16...all seeded. I don't know, it's complex, but my main argument is for 5 divisions of 6 teams, so that the divisions are retained, but Chicago or someone goes to one of the three Eastern time zone divisions (thinking an Original Six division would be neat here). Top 2 in each division get playoff berths, then 6 wild cards.

And I never said anything about practicality. I just think that all the assholes in the East get it nice and easy by not havin to travel at all.

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Yeah it's true eastern teams don't have to travel much. Especially the atlantic division where half the games are like 1 hour drive. But the North East is where hockey has always been the strongest, its where all the original 6 are and most of the next 6 expansion teams came from.

orig 6 division will never happen, since other teams would like to see orig teams frequently. The 6 Canadian teams fuel all revenues for the NHL, we should have a canadian division. Bottom line is I really dont see division changes making much of a difference in the states. ESPN wants to kill hockey there.

Check out this article, its a good read. http://thesituationist.wordpress.com/2007/...blic-attitudes/

we dont get espn here, but from what I hear and what I've seen from their website they cover the NHL similar to how TSN covers most nba games. A quick 20 second summary and small box with the score. While their tv shows never mention hockey. Basketball had terrible numbers for the finals, and overall tv ratings. All sports are down overall except for super hyped NFL.

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The 6 Canadian teams fuel all revenues for the NHL, we should have a canadian division.

Is that true? Why does the NHL keep putting new teams in weird places in the States, and letting teams migrate from Canada to the US?

I'm not doing this in any sort of taunting manner at all, I have no investment in it either way. I'm really asking, I know hockey is king in Canada emotionally but I was under the impression that the $$$ in the States was why the game has migrated so much.

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addisonbr said:
Is that true? Why does the NHL keep putting new teams in weird places in the States, and letting teams migrate from Canada to the US?

I'm not doing this in any sort of taunting manner at all, I have no investment in it either way. I'm really asking, I know hockey is king in Canada emotionally but I was under the impression that the $$$ in the States was why the game has migrated so much.

Deleted

Edited by Flames4LifeFLA
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If the NHL had a strong U.S. television presence and advertised itself properly, then THAT would be their big form of revenue.

For a lot of Americans, we understand the basic gist of hockey but there are so many that think that "there are so many rules," when compared to the other major sports, hockey is damn simple.

Get rid of the trapezoid, change shooting the puck out to an icing penalty, and fix the standings.

Then sell sell sell!

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Just to say something quick on this subject...and I think I am re-iterating something that was said on Hockey night in Canada (but I don't remember)

The NHL is one of the few multi-billion (yes BILLION) dollar businesses that does not have a Research and Development Department. That means there is no one one going around and seeing what the fans want. Let me tell you something and I think most of you guys feel the same way: I AM SICK OF SEEING MY FAVORITE TEAM PLAY THE SAME 5 TEAMS FOR MOST OF THE SEASON (seriously Rangers vs Philly AGAIN?). I got the hockey package just to see the western conference teams play and I swear if I see the Oilers play the Avalanche again I think I am gonna just turn off hockey for a while. How can a six or eight game series (cuz that what it feels like) be a good gauge for the playoffs when most likely the team will not play someone in their divison? The sad thing is that it feels like the teams don't even play outside of their division much. In my humble opinion there should be MORE inter-conference and inter-divisional playing and less playing within your tiny little division. I was watching a Vancouver game playing against some Eastern Conference team (I can't remember the team they were playing against I want to say it was Buffalo or something) and they hasn't played that team in 4 years. That's right 4 years. The best Ranger game I went to was versus Colorado and that was three years ago.

Now I am lucky since I live in the NY Metro area I have my pick of three teams to go see, but then again most of time it is versus the same team. Do I want to see the Isles play the Devils at Prudential or the Coliseum? And which of the 20 games should I go see? Tough choice.

The sad thing is most areas only have one team and how horrible is that? Night after night you watch the same game over and over again it's like an even more twisted version of Groundhog Day!

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egg said:
Just to say something quick on this subject...and I think I am re-iterating something that was said on Hockey night in Canada (but I don't remember)

The NHL is one of the few multi-billion (yes BILLION) dollar businesses that does not have a Research and Development Department. That means there is no one one going around and seeing what the fans want. Let me tell you something and I think most of you guys feel the same way: I AM SICK OF SEEING MY FAVORITE TEAM PLAY THE SAME 5 TEAMS FOR MOST OF THE SEASON (seriously Rangers vs Philly AGAIN?). I got the hockey package just to see the western conference teams play and I swear if I see the Oilers play the Avalanche again I think I am gonna just turn off hockey for a while. How can a six or eight game series (cuz that what it feels like) be a good gauge for the playoffs when most likely the team will not play someone in their divison? The sad thing is that it feels like the teams don't even play outside of their division much. In my humble opinion there should be MORE inter-conference and inter-divisional playing and less playing within your tiny little division. I was watching a Vancouver game playing against some Eastern Conference team (I can't remember the team they were playing against I want to say it was Buffalo or something) and they hasn't played that team in 4 years. That's right 4 years. The best Ranger game I went to was versus Colorado and that was three years ago.

Now I am lucky since I live in the NY Metro area I have my pick of three teams to go see, but then again most of time it is versus the same team. Do I want to see the Isles play the Devils at Prudential or the Coliseum? And which of the 20 games should I go see? Tough choice.

The sad thing is most areas only have one team and how horrible is that? Night after night you watch the same game over and over again it's like an even more twisted version of Groundhog Day!

Deleted

Edited by Flames4LifeFLA
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There is no question that the NHL is extremely behind these other three sports in terms of revenue generated from television contracts. However, the NHL has always been a gate-driven league and that's their big revenue stream.

Quoted for truth. I like hockey, but I can't watch it on TV. It's so good in person, so bad on the screen. As opposed to, say, football, which IMHO is better on TV than in person. The problem for the NHL is that broadcasting is where the big bucks are, so.

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  • 3 months later...
Is that true? Why does the NHL keep putting new teams in weird places in the States, and letting teams migrate from Canada to the US?

I'm not doing this in any sort of taunting manner at all, I have no investment in it either way. I'm really asking, I know hockey is king in Canada emotionally but I was under the impression that the $$$ in the States was why the game has migrated so much.

because bettman has a hardon for american cities. with the new economic system, theres no reason why hockey wouldnt thrive in winnipeg. He was SO against moving nashville to hamilton or waterloo.

If the NHL had a strong U.S. television presence and advertised itself properly, then THAT would be their big form of revenue.

For a lot of Americans, we understand the basic gist of hockey but there are so many that think that "there are so many rules," when compared to the other major sports, hockey is damn simple.

Get rid of the trapezoid, change shooting the puck out to an icing penalty, and fix the standings.

Then sell sell sell!

I agree the trapezoid is gay, "change shooting the puck out to an icing penalty" ? Can you expand on that, I don't really understand what you're suggesting. The only infraction for shooting the puck out is in the defensive zone, in which case its a penalty. I don't see what icing has to do with it, as the faceoff is in the defensive zone anyway.... Though I agree, having it a penalty is stupid. How often did you see players shooting the puck out intentionally? It's rare - if ever.

I for one would like to see the goal creases go back to the way they were. They cut the edges off when they had that retarded crease rule, but they didnt change it back once they removed that rule. WTF?

If they keep the trapezoid, they should attach it to a semi-circle crease, so it becomes one big arc that the goalie is allowed to be in.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hmm... 'niche' market.

There are only three people I can talk hockey with here in Southern Arizona. My roommate never stays in the TV room long when Centre Ice is on, and others have said, "I've just never really gotten into hockey," which I can completely understand... I mean, it is Southern Arizona.

But if you take away the Canadian markets, the NHL still continues to draw as well as the NBA (the NBA averages 50 people more a game, and that is with larger capacity stadiums), and the NBA has three franchises drawing more poorly than the Islanders, 30th in the league (who I am sure should draw better - put them in a new arena accessible from all over Long Island and watch it skyrocket).

Everyone seems to pick on the schedule, the Sun Belt teams, the fact the NHL is not a good television sport... and yet it's still chugging along. I admit the schedule is out of whack, but I love how important the last two weeks are. If it wasn't for relocation, the teams that were relocating probably would have faced their fair share of problems in the future years anyways. Winnipeg didn't have an arena. Quebéc didn't have much money. Dunno about the Whalers.

Some of the Sun Belt teams are a joke. I'd throw the Coyotes in there even though they're the only team I get to see regularly. Panthers as well. But the NBA has Seattle and had Vancouver and Charlotte and New Orleans recently - despite the suggestions, the NHL is stable. And in places like Tampa Bay and Phoenix and Anaheim, the existence of the NHL teams has promoted hockey in a way only having an NHL team there can. The Coyotes support the hockey community better than any of the three other major teams in the Phoenix area promote their sports' communities - there's high school scores at every game, young kids in the stands (and on a Tuesday night, not many others). And relocation - how many cities get thrown out as a deserving city to move a team to? Kansas City, Seattle, Hartford, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Kitchener, Quebéc City, Las Vegas, even Saskatoon (probably more likely than Seattle even given their arena issues). An expansion team or two is much more likely than contraction or relocation. (Oo - move the Panthers to Kansas City and give Winnipeg and Hartford expansion teams!) Even though that doesn't quite put Toronto back in the west...

Simply, the NHL is strong because of the fans who continue to watch it despite the fact the sport is the most likely to be in the collective subconscious in many areas. If you get exposed to it early, if you play it on your cement patio in your backyard, watch Eastern Conference playoff games on ESPN2 when you come home from grade school. It could do with some improving, but it's still the NHL, and it will continue to be around for a good long time.

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The one thing I like about the "new" NHL is all of those divisional games at the end of the season. It made the playoff race and division races that much tighter.

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