Friday, December 22, 2006

Break Up The Southeast Division?

Is the NHL getting ready to do something drastic? According to sources, the League is "considering a significant overhaul of the face of the league that includes realignment and a reduction in the number of divisions from six to four." Included in that realignment/reduction:
The current Atlantic Division (the three New York area teams plus Philadelphia) would be melded together with four teams from the current Southeast Division (all but one of Washington, Carolina, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Florida).
Does anyone want to speculate on who the SED would lose? Well, since you asked, I will.

In terms of geographic rivalry, we can assume that Tampa and Florida will stay together, so they're safe. Washington and Carolina best fit in with the rest of this largely I-95-based Division. That leaves Atlanta. Geographically, they could be forced into a division with fellow southern relative newcomers Nashville, which would make sense in that Detroit (who is in the Eastern time zone and has the first right of refusal to switch conferences) could then move to the Eastern Conference and join Pittsburgh in the East's new seven-team Division.

Of course, the Pittsburgh situation will greatly impact any realignment plan (and if they move to Kansas City, they'll be the team going from the Eastern to the Western Conference and Philly would likely move to the Northeast, making room for Atlanta to stay in the Atlantic), but it would be great from a Caps fan's perspective to be reunited in a division with Jersey, the New York teams and possibly Philly, while keeping Tampa and Carolina. What do you think?


Anonymous said...

I'd much rather have then join the Northeast division so that they would play Montreal Toronto etc many times a year.

JP said...

Just out of curiosity - and please don't take this the wrong way - how long have you been (or are you even) a Caps fan?

exwhaler said...

So, the one Southeast team that seems to have formed a true rivalry with the Caps may be the one left out? Figures. :-)

JP said...

Notwithstanding the late November shenanigan-filled affair, I still think of Tampa and Carolina as bigger rivals (Tampa b/c of the playoff series and Carolina b/c they've been a tougher matchup for longer).

Rob said...

That would be AWESOME! I'd love for the Caps to rekindle their old Patrick Division rivalries -- and it would be nice to have Detroit in the Eastern Conference if they do, in fact, switch.

Anonymous said...

You might see columbus end up in the northeast if detroit doesn't want to swith conferences. And Brodeur is the best goalie ever.

JP said...

Why wouldn't Detroit - a team in the Eastern time zone - want to move to the East where:

1) Their travel costs would be drastically reduced;
2) Their travel (time and distance) would be drastically reduced;
3) They'd be in a Conference with four of the five other Original Six teams, including long-time rival Toronto; and
4) They'd be in a Conference where their fans don't have to stay up late to watch many of their games?

There are probably a ton of other reasons too, but I can't see Detroit not jumping at the opportunity to move into the Eastern Conference.

And I can't hear what you said about Brodeur - Patrick Roy's Stanley Cup rings are in my ears.

Shayne said...

I wasn't saying Detroit wouldn't jump to the east, I'm just saying columbus is another possibility. But as you pointed out, everything depends on what happens to pittsburgh. You might see both columbus and detroit in the NE division.

As for Brodeur vs. Roy - it's a coin-flip in my book. I wouldn't mind haveing either of them backstopping my all-time team.

JP said...

The CP says Columbus comes east for Atlanta - Shayne 1, JP 0.

JP said...

Also in that CP version is the line "[t]he Caps rejoining their old Patrick Division rivals was a popular sentiment at Wednesday's meeting."

Awww... how sweet!

Frank said...

I like the idea of playing the Patrick Division teams again, but where they drop the ball is the playoff structure is essentially the same. Qualification for the playoffs is a little different, but playoff format would be the same.

This misses the point I think. The great part of the Patrick division was the rivalry factor generated in the playoffs - you had to play your way out of your division in the playoffs. This regular season schedule playing the same teams over and over again is boring - but in the playoffs the bad blood and rivalries really took off when you had to play your way out of your division each year.

pepper said...

right on the money frank. this proposal is a step in the right direction. But, ideally, the clincher would be a return to the division semis / finals format.

if the league is going to reduce the number of divisions and thereby increase the number of teams in each one, i can't see the rationale for continuing conference seeding.