Four Conference Realignment Proposal
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05-13-2012, 06:23 PM
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
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
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?
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