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01-23-2013, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Grudy0 View Post
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.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.
That's why the whole realignment was about Detroit(and Columbus). Detroit doesn't want to go to the west coast more than other eastern teams, which makes complete sense. None of the other CTZ teams are eager to go to the west coast either, as you pointed out with what Winnipeg had to do back in the day. Dallas hates it. Minnesota isn't a fan of it.

Get the 8 teams in the PTZ and MTZ, and put them together in a conference. 4 of the 8 make the playoffs, and they play each other until the 3rd round. The other 22 teams in the league make up the other conference. Keep it at 22, or divide it up into two 11 team divisions, or 5/5/6/6, or whatever you want to do. 12 of the 22 teams make the playoffs. Seed it 1-12, 1 plays 12, 2 plays 11, etc.

Nobody wants to be affiliated with the west coast, and everyone wants into the cool eastern club, with all the history, tradition, and travel. Both conferences span two time zones, and any one team in the eastern half actually has a better chance to make the playoffs.

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