A New League Landscape on the Horizon?
The following article was written and submitted by FF regular Josh Endsley, better known around these parts as “Team Jyeah.”
According to various reports surfacing from the Draft this past weekend, Gary Bettman has proposed his new vision for the league – in the form of an unbalanced, four division league. The proposition, which will be revealed in more detail at the Board of Governors Meetings in December, call for realignment more closely based on time zones. Bettmanâ€™s plan still calls for two 15-team conferences, though, with the possibility of keeping Columbus in the West while moving Detroit to the East.
Obviously, this would not sit well with the Blue Jacketsâ€™ organization.
Jacketsâ€™ General Manager Scott Howson has stated that he believes the League should consider something even more radical – unbalanced conferences – and intends to submit such a plan to the League.
â€œWeâ€™re going to work something up over the summer and see if it has any legs,â€ Howson stated.
Howsonâ€™s plan would establish a landscape that closely resembles Major League Baseball, with 16 teams in the East and 14 teams in the West.
â€œIâ€™m just happy weâ€™re discussing it. Maybe thereâ€™s a way for Detroit and Columbus to get in the East,â€ added Howson.
In addition to unbalanced divisions, Bettmanâ€™s realignment plan introduces a new wrinkle to the playoffs in the form of divisional seeding. Four teams from each division would make the playoffs, with the first round consisting of divisional match-ups and the second round reseeding the remaining teams. The idea is that the playoffs would be the new mechanism for building and promoting rivalries, as opposed to a division heavy regular season schedule.
So, FF readers, what’s your take on this newly proposed landscape for the NHL?
What do you think of the many other questions this proposition begs (such as, What rivalries will be lost with realignment? What will happen if the Coyotes have to move? Will an unbalanced league just serve as a basis for an argument for more expansion?)
Is the League just over-thinking what should be a simple solution, or do you like the plans that have been laid out?
How do YOU think the League should align its divisions?
Let us know! Discuss below!