For the first time since 1998, the NHL will be a four division league. Yesterday, the league voted to go with the following four conferences for next season, pending NHLPA approval. The Sens lose none of their division rivals and are joined by the two Florida teams.
|CONFERENCE A - (NORTHWEST?)||CONFERENCE B (CENTRAL?)|
|CONFERENCE C (NORTHEAST?)||CONFERENCE D (ATLANTIC?)|
I'd gladly trade all those games for more against teams in my club's conference. Familiarity breeds contempt. Contempt creates passion and rivalry. Rivalries and hatred make for very interesting hockey.
The best part of this realignment is the playoff format. The top four teams in each conference make the playoffs. That means, to get in, the Sens only have to outduel 3 teams instead of the current 7.
The first-place team would play the fourth-place team while the second-place and third-place teams would square off. The four respective conference champions would meet in the third round, with the two remaining teams playing for the Stanley Cup.
The Sens could also see the return of Quebec City to their division for the first time since 1995. That is the likely landing spot for Phoenix if no owner steps forward. And the Northeast - if that's what they call it- would likely be the Coyotes new home division. How good would it be to see the Nordiques and Habs battling it out again?
I am a fan of this realignment for two reasons. They went back to divisional playoffs and they didn't muck with the Sens' established rivals. Especially Toronto. As you may have noticed, the Leafs are the Hatfields to my McCoys.