Big Tex here. Yep, after a lengthy hiatus from the blogosphere, I have returned. I can’t guarantee I’ll blog on a regular basis going forward, but I’ll throw my two cents out onto the interwebs anytime the Hockey Gods compel me to do so. Today, They have spoken, so here I am. Enjoy.
When I heard the NHL Board of Governors was discussing realignment proposals last week, I immediately thought of the 1979 Peaches & Herb hit, “Reunited“, albeit with a subtle change to the lyrics (and title). On or about December 6th of this year, the BoG will vote, and Peaches & Herb will have a new Number One hit with “Realignment“. And yes, it does feel so good.
While certain clubs (Dallas, Columbus and Detroit) have campaigned for some time for realignment, the BoG has finally been forced to act…by the movement of a franchise from Atlanta to Winnipeg. How will this realignment shake out? The Colonel explored some possibilities here and here back in July. I took a run at it myself, back in August of ’09. As the Thrashers have migrated north, I’d like to revisit and revise my rather radical realignment. Here’s what the NHL would look like in 2012-2013, if Big Tex was running the show:
Clarence Campbell Conference
- Patrick Division: NYR, NYI, NJD, BOS, BUF
- Smythe Division: MTL, OTW, TOR, DET, CHI
- Neilson Division: MIN, WPG, EDM, CGY, VAN
Prince of Wales Conference
- Adams Division: PIT, PHI, WSH, CBJ, STL
- Norris Division: DAL, NSH, CAR, TBL, FLA
- Brooks Division: LAK, ANA, SJS, PHX, COL
Here’s why this realignment works:
- Better travel parity. Conferences are aligned north-south, rather than the traditional east-west, so every team has to travel to the Pacific time zone every season.
- While some divisional rivalries are broken, most are preserved…and old rivalries rekindled (see Smythe Division).
- The presence of the Penguins, Capitals and Flyers in the Prince of Wales (Southern) Conference will help balance the media focus between conferences.
Also, how ironic/apropos/cool is it that the Original Six are in one conference and the Next Six (or Surviving Five, actually) are in the other? It’s a radical realignment with a strong nod to tradition, both in the groupings of teams and the division and conference names. I think both Roger Neilson and Herb Brooks, innovators extraordinaire, would approve.
On a spooky, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon note, “Reunited” was a Number One hit for Peaches & Herb in May, 1979. On May 20, 1979, the final WHA game was played. In it, the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Edmonton Oilers, 7-3, to win the Avco Cup for the last time. Just a few months later, the NHL would realign to accomodate the entry of four WHA franchises – Winnipeg, Edmonton, Hartford and Quebec.