Aaaaaaarrrggghhh!! No realignment next year?! Really?!
Rather than debate the reasons why or why not, I thought I would say a thing or two about creating the two examples of the schedule that I posted.
THING 1: It took several hours over a couple of days to come up with a deconflicted schedule as graphically exemplified in our blog “The 2012-13 Realignment Schedule…” That said:
1. It took hours over a couple of days to get the teams correct until we broke down the League into geographic pairs of clubs and then used a simple grid to determine who plays whom when without accidentally double booking anybody.
2. It was then still missing specific blackout dates that arenas would have provided through their tenant hockey teams. Solving that dilemma would have been the next step after breaking things down into the game pairs and triples as published except we took the easy way out for League management. We said deconflicting what specific, three days of the week games would be played were the responsibility of the teams and the League would only weigh in if clubs couldn’t do it of their own accord. This gave a lot of flexibility to teams themselves with an unspoken understanding that given great responsibility, you do the responsible thing. So theoretically, there would be little if any adjudication by the League to settle scheduling issues. In the military, we call this decentralized control and it works well when everyone is a professional and exceptionally well when your life depends upon it.
And THING 2: Having said all of the above, I say throw making the schedule for next year under an approved format to well-trained, cohesive military staffs using the miltiary decision making process to solve the issue. Why? Because after you give them all of the constraints (arena availability; intent on maximum and minimum numbers of games at home, on the road, consecutively played, etc.; teams playing in Europe; and the like), they will use a combination of automated and manual means to solve the problem. They might not come up for air until they have a solution. But a solution they will have, in a timely manner, with at least two-to-three courses of action for the League and NHLPA to choose from.
I do not presume to know all of the constraints under which the NHL scheduling team operates. But I say it matters not. The men and women in black, brown, green and tan could figure it out even a month from now.