Realigned!!! [3/7 update: CHI - COL - DAL - MIN - NSH - STL - WPG; NHLPA approves]
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10-13-2011, 05:55 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Moorhead, MN
What I really wish the NHL would do is look at the NFL as a model for divisions, conferences, and schedules. One of the reasons the NFL is so successful is because it works to showcase every team in the league. Both conferences span the entire width of the North American continent, and each division is geographically relevant for the most part except in cases where old rivalries took precedent.
What I would like to see is an NHL division structure much like what the NFL and MLB have, and if we still have conferences, have both span the whole width of the continent.
Oh yes, the Eastern Conference would whine, but as far as I am concerned, they can suck it. A league in which every team is in a scheduling and traveling hell is a more balanced league than one where one half of the teams get a cushy travel schedule and the other half is in hell.
Also, I have an idea to mitigate timezone differences. Games in each timezone typically start at 7pm, local time, except in rare cases. What I propose is that when teams from different timezones meet, the game starts midway between each teams 7pm start time.
In that case, the start times would be like this (all times
ET vs ET : 6 PM
ET vs CT : 6:30 PM
ET vs MT : 7 PM
ET vs PT : 7:30 PM
CT vs CT : 7 PM
CT vs MT : 7:30 PM
CT vs PT : 8 PM
MT vs MT : 8 PM
MT vs PT : 8:30 PM
PT vs PT : 9 PM
If this were implemented, no Eastern Time Zone team would play a game more than an hour and a half later than their home start time, which I think would put a sock in the pieholes of teams like detroit, which whine about diminished TV ratings from having late start times for away games. It would also give a huge benefit to teams in the Central Time Zone because those teams would only play an hour later, at most, or a half hour early, at earliest. It also benefits the Pacific teams because now, instead of a TV start time of 4 pm for an away game on the east coast, games would start no earlier than 5:30 PM local time allowing for more people to be home from work and after school activities to watch local teams when they're on a trip to the East Coast.
Note that this applies regardless of who is the home or away. If San Jose has a home and home with the New York Rangers, those games would always start at 7:30 PM Central Time (8:30 Eastern, 5:30 Pacific), regardless of if the venue was Madison Square Garden or the Shark Tank. About the only issue I can see is early start times on the West Coast, with some potential ticket holders being stuck at work or whatever, but I don't think it would be too big of a deal.
Now that we've got the time zone issues mitigated, we can go about deconstructing the NHL's inherent East Coast Bias by forcing those East Coast Teams to mingle with the rest of the league and showcasing the entirety of the league rather than always seeing the east coast + Chicago and Detroit on NBC and Versus.
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