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01-23-2013, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by knorthern knight View Post
Poor Jets; having to play so often in Miami and Tampa during the winter Actually, that is much better for them than being in "the west" and playing 2 timezones out versus westcoast teams, as opposed to 1 timezone out against Miami and Tampa. The NHL's December alignment at least makes sense time-zone wise, with more games against teams in their own timezone. The best solution time-zone wise is the 4-division "December alignment". Here's a look at teams by time-zone...
It was the time-zone and TV factor that was the push for the "December alignment".

People forget how bad it was for the Winnipeg Jets during their days in the Smythe Division. The League paid them a couple million dollars a year for in travel money for being in a division with two Mountain Time Zone teams and two Pacific Time Zone teams.

Back then, the Jets played 40 home games, eight two timezones away at the Kings and Canucks, eight one timezone behind at the Flames and the Oilers, and 24 games in the Central and Eastern Time Zones. By being placed in the current Western Conference, the Jets would be back to almost that exact scenario, and more if they were placed in the Northwest Division.
Originally Posted by seanlinden View Post
The thing with the 4-division alignment thing... it works, as long as the league is prepared to keep one eastern time zone team in the western conference.

Don't mess with the playoffs, keep it east vs. west. Yes, the schedule ends up being slightly unbalanced and not as straightforward as the current alignment, but that's really immaterial as long as it doesn't affect playoff chances. Give the winner of each division one of the top 2 seeds in each conference.
And that would be an exact reason why the NHLPA put a kibosh on the realignment. The entire realignment was complete, but the NHL never did put the playoff structure to paper with a final vote; the playoff structure was incomplete.

The proposed playoff structure was a four-conference alignment, with the top four teams in each conference to qualify for the playoffs and battle it out against each other in the playoffs. The playoff champions from each of the four conferences would then somehow faceoff against each other to determine the Stanley Cup champion. This is problematic, as:

1) two conferences would have four teams that didn't make the playoffs, while another two conferences would have three teams, creating an artificial imbalance to qualify for the playoffs simply because of the number of teams in a conference.
2) the third round of the playoffs weren't set in stone.

Personally, I think the League is making a huge mistake by only allowing the top four from each conference to qualify for the playoffs. The last two weeks of the season currently showcases the jockeying for position to qualify as the eighth seed in the conference, and that will go away with a strict four team per conference qualification.

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