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saffronleaf 05-13-2012 03:01 AM

Four Conference Realignment Proposal
 
I have a (not too radical) idea for a four conference realignment.

First, let me state my assumptions:
- 32 teams
- Two expansion teams: Seattle & Quebec City
- No relocations (of course, if a team is relocated, then that could be worked into this format)

While these may be contentious assumptions, I feel that they are relatively safe. I think that the NHL's proposed four conference realignment suggested that an expansion may be in the cards in the long-term future of the NHL. No relocations is less likely, but I didn't want this thread to be derailed by fans being offended by other fans suggesting X team may be relocated. Lets leave that for another thread.

Eastern Conference
North Atlantic Division
Boston Bruins
New York Rangers
New York Islanders
New Jersey Devils

Mid Atlantic Division
Philadelphia Flyers
Pittsburgh Penguins
Washington Capitals
Carolina Hurricanes


Central Conference
North Central Division
Buffalo Sabres
Detroit Red Wings
St. Louis Blues
Columbus Blue Jackets

South Central Division
Florida Panthers
Tampa Bay Lightning
Nashville Predators
Dallas Stars


Western Conference
North Western Division
Chicago Blackhawks
Minnesota Wild
Colorado Avalanche
Seattle Hockey Club

South Western Division
San Jose Sharks
Los Angeles Kings
Anaheim Ducks
Phoenix Coyotes


Northern Conference
Eastern Division
Toronto Maple Leafs
Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators
Quebec City Hockey Club

Western Division
Winnipeg Jets
Calgary Flames
Edmonton Oilers
Vancouver Canucks


Scheduling

- Home and home with every team outside of your conference.
24 x 2 = 48

- Play each team in your division six times.
3 x 6 = 18

- Play each team in your conference (that is not in your division) four times.
4 x 4 = 16

48 + 18 + 16 = 82 games in total


Playoffs Format

- The top two teams of every division make the playoffs (8 divisions x 2 teams = 16 teams in the playoffs)

- First round: top two teams of each division play each other.
- Second round: the two division winners from each conference play each other.

End result: Final Four

Inter-conference records (from the home-and-home games) can be used to determine the seeding of the four conferences. Obviously, the strongest conference is #1, second is seeded #2, etc.

- Third round: Conference champion from #1 seeded conference vs. Conference champion from #4 seeded conference; Conference champion from #2 seeded conference vs. Conference champion from #3 conference.

- Fourth round: Stanley Cup Final


Note that the seeding of the conferences should be done immediately after the regular season is completed so that brackets are set and fans can fill them out.

Miscellaneous Notes

1. Security from a business standpoint for the NHL.
- Under the current alignment, it is possible that the NHL may end up with an Ottawa vs. Edmonton SCF. Once Winnipeg moves West, it could be Ottawa vs. Winnipeg. Business-wise, this would be pretty painful for the NHL. If the NHL is smart, it shouldn't leave such things to chance. It is also possible for no Canadian teams to make the playoffs -- this is also somewhat painful for the NHL. Canadian teams generate a lot of revenue, and having a Canadian team in the Final Four would ensure a hell of a lot of revenue for the league from Canada.

2. Revenue from the Canada Cup.
- In Canada, the championship for the Northern Conference (which will undoubtedly be dubbed the Canada Cup by the media and fans) will rake in revenue like nothing else. Especially considering how regionally divided Canada is and how Canadian teams have strong rivalries against one another.

3. Every team plays in every building.

4. Keeps together most rivalries; the main rivalry lost would be DET & CHI.

5. Makes the Stanley Cup Playoffs more 'event-like'.
- The NHL has been trying to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs an event -- akin to March Madness. Having a bracket setup will make the Stanley Cup Playoffs much more of an 'event' and it would make nearly every office in NorthEastern & Great Lakes US + Canada ecstatic for how easily pools can be made.

6. One concern: Northern Conference Time Zone issue.
- I don't think this will be much of a concern. The only worst case scenario is when an Eastern Division team plays Vancouver -- where there is a three-hour time zone difference. Winnipeg is CT and Calgary and Edmonton are MT, so there isn't much of an issue with any of those teams.
- Firstly, there can be a bit of give-and-take when Eastern Division teams play Vancouver. Games occurring in Vancouver can start at 6:00PM PT (thereby starting at 9:00PM in the East and ending at about 11:30PM ET), and games occurring in the East can start at 8:30PM in the East (thereby starting at 5:30PM in Vancouver and ending at about 11:00PM in the East).
- Moreover, this can further be ameliorated by trying to make sure that Vancouver vs. East games occur mostly on Saturdays and Sundays -- then you can schedule it at pretty much whatever time (e.g., the afternoon).




Thoughts?

The only sad part here, IMO, is that CHI and DET are split up. But I'm sure DET wouldn't mind if they can play in a conference that is more time zone friendly for them!

AdmiralsFan24 05-13-2012 06:19 AM

That Northwest Division is a disaster. Detroit may be happy they can play in a friendly time zone but you have one team in the Pacific time zone, one in the Mountain and two in the Central.

tp71 05-13-2012 06:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AdmiralsFan24 (Post 49639329)
That Northwest Division is a disaster. Detroit may be happy they can play in a friendly time zone but you have one team in the Pacific time zone, one in the Mountain and two in the Central.

I have to agree with this. It's an interesting concept, but that one division in the Western is just all over the place. I think you'd have 4 unhappy teams in that division.

Kirikanoir 05-13-2012 08:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by saffronleaf (Post 49638405)
Western Conference
North Western Division
Chicago Blackhawks
Minnesota Wild
Colorado Avalanche
Seattle Hockey Club


Western Division
Winnipeg Jets
Calgary Flames
Edmonton Oilers
Vancouver Canucks

This makes no sense in both travel and building rivalries. Change Seattle and Winnipeg around, it`s not necessary to have 2 all Canadian Divisions

North Western Division
Chicago Blackhawks
Minnesota Wild
Winnipeg Jets
Colorado Avalanche


Western Division
Seattle Hockey Club
Calgary Flames
Edmonton Oilers
Vancouver Canucks


This makes far more sense it reduces travel, especially for Vancouver and Seattle. And it puts Seattle in the same Division to what would likely become their number one rival, Vancouver.

Landeskog 05-13-2012 08:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kirikanoir (Post 49640239)
This makes no sense in both travel and building rivalries. Change Seattle and Winnipeg around, it`s not necessary to have 2 all Canadian Divisions

North Western Division
Chicago Blackhawks
Minnesota Wild
Winnipeg Jets
Colorado Avalanche


Western Division
Seattle Hockey Club
Calgary Flames
Edmonton Oilers
Vancouver Canucks


This makes far more sense it reduces travel, especially for Vancouver and Seattle. And it puts Seattle in the same Division to what would likely become their number one rival, Vancouver.

much better.... Seattle also must be named the Totems...

PaulSedin 05-13-2012 08:42 AM

the league has to many teams as it stands

i would rather take out two teams than add two teams

Ogrezilla 05-13-2012 08:52 AM

I don't like any alignment that makes me care about less than half of the league when considering if my team makes the playoffs. In this case I would only care about the record of my team and the three others in their division. Right now at least I care about every other eastern team. But how often do we hear things like "well they don't mind giving them the OT point, they are in the other conference." I don't want that to be true against 28 other teams.

Aside from division winners, it should at least go to conferences. 2nd place in your division shouldn't mean a thing. Even then only 7 other teams matter. This was my biggest gripe about the league's proposed plan too. If they are breaking the divisions down that far there have to be wildcard spots.

imo the alignment would be ok if the playoff format was improved.

hatterson 05-13-2012 08:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ogrezilla (Post 49640785)
I don't like any alignment that makes me care about less than half of the league when considering if my team makes the playoffs. In this case I would only care about the record of my team and the three others in their division. Right now at least I care about every other eastern team. But how often do we hear things like "well they don't mind giving them the OT point, they are in the other conference." I don't want that to be true against 28 other teams.

Aside from division winners, it should at least go to conferences. 2nd place in your division shouldn't mean a thing. Even then only 7 other teams matter. This was my biggest gripe about the league's proposed plan too. If they are breaking the divisions down that far there have to be wildcard spots.

This is the biggest issue to me. Conferences have extremely little value here as you're only competing within your division for playoff spots.

Perhaps if the division winners made it plus the next 2 highest records in the conference. But even then you're only competing against 7 other teams

Lonewolfe2015 05-13-2012 09:07 AM

Aside from the details of where everyone plays, your biggest problem is that the top 2 teams in each division make the playoffs.

There's a lot of divisions where 3 teams made the current playoffs or 1 team made it. You'd have to do it where the top divisional team gets a 1-4 seeding, while the remaining 4 conference seeds go to the best remaining teams of the pool.

We'd also likely have to implement a wild card round for increased team revenue, play a series for the 7th/8th seeds in each conference with the four teams that just miss out. Due to the expansion and fact now 50% of the league losses out on extra revenue. Wild card rounds would be a way of generating revenue for teams that aren't contenders.

Flanagan 05-13-2012 10:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PaulSedin (Post 49640595)
the league has to many teams as it stands

i would rather take out two teams than add two teams

In terms of scheduling and playoffs, etc, 32 teams makes it very easy.

zytz 05-13-2012 10:34 AM

Not bad overall, but have you seen a map?

LatvianTwist 05-13-2012 11:08 AM

Why do you assume that Seattle will get a team? Houston is just as likely, or at least that's what I thought.

ryerockarola 05-13-2012 11:31 AM

30 teams is the reality. Any proposed 4 conference alignments should be done with 30 teams because of that. Any proposals with teams not currently in the league are really a waste of time to discuss.

hatterson 05-13-2012 11:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LatvianTwist (Post 49644529)
Why do you assume that Seattle will get a team? Houston is just as likely, or at least that's what I thought.

To be fair, it really doesn't matter where the expansions are. They could be Mexico City and Saskatchewan and the base premise still holds.

The advantage of a 4 conference, 8 division format is that it's very pliable in terms of travel. You're mostly concerned about teams within your division for travel, with secondary concern for conference

Every team plays every other team home and home so the travel is the same there. Then you play conference opponents home and away again so it's good to have those closer. Then you play division opponents home and away on top of that so you want them even closer.

KingsFan7824 05-13-2012 12:56 PM

The 8 western teams in their own conference. The other 22 teams in their own conference. Those 22 teams are the most difficult to group together into smaller units, because everyone wants to be with everyone, and nobody wants to be split from anyone, so just lump them all together.

The 8 teams out west play each other 8 or 9 times. The other 22 teams play each other 3 or 4 times. Only 1 game against each team in the other conference for both conferences.

4 teams make the playoffs out west, and they play each other in the 1st and 2nd rounds. 12 teams make it from the other group, and they play each other, 1/12, 2/11, 3/10, etc. 3 "eastern" teams, and 1 team from the west in the final 4, and they get reseeded. It's almost any team being able to play any team in the final, except for too much of the travel teams in the eastern and central time zones don't want to do, until the 3rd round of the playoffs at the earliest.

ak90210 05-13-2012 12:57 PM

The NHL should contract to 28 before it expands to 32.

Top 6 Spaling 05-13-2012 01:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PaulSedin (Post 49640595)
the league has to many teams as it stands

i would rather take out two teams than add two teams

Alright, your team is first to get cut then.

With the success of Florida, Phoenix, and LA this year, hockey is growing in non-traditional markets. Let's leave it and see what happens. I dont know if expansion is good or bad, but I am not a fan of contraction.

LEAFS FAN 4 EVER 05-13-2012 03:18 PM

Honestly why can't the NHL just move Detroit or Nashville to the Eastern Conference, replacing Atlanta in the Southeast Divsion. I always thought it sounded a lot more simple and easier compared to the realignment the NHL thought of.

KingsFan7824 05-13-2012 03:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LEAFS FAN 4 EVER (Post 49653127)
Honestly why can't the NHL just move Detroit or Nashville to the Eastern Conference, replacing Atlanta in the Southeast Divsion. I always thought it sounded a lot more simple and easier compared to the realignment the NHL thought of.

One reason would be Dallas.

New Sabres Captain 05-13-2012 05:12 PM

Northern conference, while it generates more Canada v Canada games, is also a pain. It's the only conference that spans from coast to coast. Also I don't think Montreal v Boston would like being separated.

I'd flip Winnipeg with Seattle and then move the "Western Division" (with Seattle) into the Western conference, the "North Western Division" (with Winnipeg) into the Central, and then the "North Central" into the Northern. Still don't like Colorado in the same conference with Florida/Tampa, but at least it's not in the same division.

The scheduling matrix works, so no problems there. I would suggest the playoffs crossover--that is #1 in division A plays #2 in division B (in the same conference), and vice versa. Or, just seed the teams (2 from each division) 1-4 based on points in each conference.

IBleedUnionBlue 05-13-2012 06:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LEAFS FAN 4 EVER (Post 49653127)
Honestly why can't the NHL just move Detroit or Nashville to the Eastern Conference, replacing Atlanta in the Southeast Divsion. I always thought it sounded a lot more simple and easier compared to the realignment the NHL thought of.

Because anyone who can read a map would know that Columbus is further east then both Nashville and Detroit.

saffronleaf 05-13-2012 06:23 PM

I completely agree that the NorthWest division is a bit of a mess in terms of travel, but I was thinking that if travel expenses were shared league-wide, then the financial advantages of having an all-Canadian conference could ameliorate the additional travel expenses. I find that unless you're talking about Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver, most American markets (other than hockey-mad O6 markets) don't care too much about Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, and Ottawa. Similarly, I think while most Canadian markets are sufficiently hockey mad that they sell out anyways (except maybe Ottawa, which has struggled at times), most Canadian markets are more interested in regional match-ups than say, matches against sun-belt teams.

Moreover, the NorthWest division is not significantly worse than the West division of the Northern Conference. Winnipeg to Vancouver is not significantly worse than Chicago to Seattle. I think time zone wise, it's OK. It's having three time zones that really hurts fans, IMO. CT to PT can be worked out with a little give-and-take and diligent scheduling.

Then of course, the financial benefit of having a sort of 'Canada Cup' (i.e. Northern Conference championship) annually will be massive.

And I also agree that having a playoff format where the top two from each division play one another in the first round may be a bit problematic. You might get teams that deserve to make it from a strong division not make it because of this structure. Similar to how some teams in the Western Conference (in the current format) sometimes don't make the playoffs even if they're a top-16 team; or similar to the division-clinch thing now. But this alignment proposal would make that even worse.

So yeah, those two things, especially the second thing, is something to consider. Maybe just the top four teams from each Conference make the playoffs?

But about the first thing, yes I have seen a map and I'm aware of where NHL markets are located. But that was the sacrifice for having an all-Canadian conference. Is that something worth having? Or is it something that should not come to fruition?

saffronleaf 05-13-2012 06:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kirikanoir (Post 49640239)
This makes no sense in both travel and building rivalries. Change Seattle and Winnipeg around, it`s not necessary to have 2 all Canadian Divisions

North Western Division
Chicago Blackhawks
Minnesota Wild
Winnipeg Jets
Colorado Avalanche


Western Division
Seattle Hockey Club
Calgary Flames
Edmonton Oilers
Vancouver Canucks


This makes far more sense it reduces travel, especially for Vancouver and Seattle. And it puts Seattle in the same Division to what would likely become their number one rival, Vancouver.

Actually, that's very smart. Kind of loses the exclusive Canadian conference thing, but it really helps sort out the travel mess.

While Seattle and Vancouver would pine to be with one another in a division, do you think Seattle would be OK with being in an otherwise completely Canadian conference?

Do you think that may hurt their marketability?

Would Seattle rather play host to the likes of Colorado, Chicago, Minnesota, San Jose, LA, Phoenix and Anaheim or the Canadian teams?

I think for an expansion franchise to be stuck in a full-fledged Canadian conference may be painful.

saffronleaf 05-13-2012 06:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lonewolfe2015 (Post 49641063)
Aside from the details of where everyone plays, your biggest problem is that the top 2 teams in each division make the playoffs.

There's a lot of divisions where 3 teams made the current playoffs or 1 team made it. You'd have to do it where the top divisional team gets a 1-4 seeding, while the remaining 4 conference seeds go to the best remaining teams of the pool.

We'd also likely have to implement a wild card round for increased team revenue, play a series for the 7th/8th seeds in each conference with the four teams that just miss out. Due to the expansion and fact now 50% of the league losses out on extra revenue. Wild card rounds would be a way of generating revenue for teams that aren't contenders.

I'd support that.

Ogrezilla 05-13-2012 08:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lonewolfe2015 (Post 49641063)
Aside from the details of where everyone plays, your biggest problem is that the top 2 teams in each division make the playoffs.

There's a lot of divisions where 3 teams made the current playoffs or 1 team made it. You'd have to do it where the top divisional team gets a 1-4 seeding, while the remaining 4 conference seeds go to the best remaining teams of the pool.

We'd also likely have to implement a wild card round for increased team revenue, play a series for the 7th/8th seeds in each conference with the four teams that just miss out. Due to the expansion and fact now 50% of the league losses out on extra revenue. Wild card rounds would be a way of generating revenue for teams that aren't contenders.

Quote:

Originally Posted by saffronleaf (Post 49658837)
I'd support that.

This is now a 2 conference system :laugh: in fact its the current system with 4 4-team divisions instead of 3 5-team divisions. except there's a wildcard round now because 82 games isn't enough to decide the teams that make the playoffs I guess?


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