The Drastic NHL Realignment to Four Conferences is a Terrible Idea, so here’s a better plan

This is one of the worst ideas that the NHL has had in a while.  I have hated the idea of unbalanced conferences since it was brought up and I still hate it.  I hate the idea of two conferences having eight teams, and two of them having seven teams.  I’m assuming that they will make it so the top 8 teams from the Eastern side and the Western side make it, but it will be extremely bush league if they make it so the Top 4 teams from each division make the playoffs.  It would give teams in the divisions of seven a huge advantage, because there would be fewer teams battling for the same amount of spots.

Yes, this does help the Red Wings greatly with their travel and will guarantee them a playoff spot every season until the end of time.  It will help them cut travel costs and make the organization happy.  But, I have no desire to watch the Detroit Red Wings play Buffalo, Ottawa, Toronto, Florida, or Tampa Bay 5-6 times per year.  I don’t care about having those particular Original 6 matchups anymore.  Sweet, we sacrifice our biggest current rivals Chicago, St. Louis and Nashville, for teams that were our rivals when the NHL started.  Yes, I love watching the Red Wings play Eastern Conference Original 6 teams, but that’s only because they hardly ever play them.  The schedule they would be swapping for is terrible.

The NHL is drastically changing the division and conference realignment for literally no reason.  Atlanta did move to Winnipeg, that is correct, but there is a simple way to fix this without blowing up the whole system and becoming the morons that create two divisions of eight and two divisions of seven.

Here is how you fix the divisions without being stupid:

Above is a picture of the current divisions and what you do is quite simple.  You take Columbus and you move them from the Central to the Eastern Conference and put them in the Southeast division and group together all the teams that people really don’t care about.  Then to replace Columbus you move Minnesota from the Northwest to the Central.  Then magically Winnipeg slides into the Northwest to replace Minnesota.

You swap around three teams.  You don’t have to worry about losing rivalries.  You don’t have to worry about inconveniencing teams.  Sure, the Red Wings don’t get to move out East and they’ll be upset about that, but as a fan I’m cool with it.  As a season ticket holder, I have no desire to keep season tickets if I’m going to be watching Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Florida, Ottawa and Toronto for 15+ of the 41 home games until the end of time.  Screw that.  I’m paying for a product, and I’m going to get a terrible product watching these teams come to the Joe, especially when you see you’re taking away Chicago, St. Louis, and Nashville.  The Central Division is arguably the best division in the NHL, and you’re just going to destroy it.  Of course it is possible that those teams will get better and they likely will, but it will never be the same as the Central Division or playing in the Western Conference.  This is a pathetic strategy and design plan by the NHL.

If you couldn’t tell, I don’t like this, not at all.  The Red Wings love it, and why shouldn’t they?  Less travel time and they get a much easier schedule.  It is a huge win for the Detroit franchise.  They should be a lock for the Eastern Conference semi-finals every year until the end of time if this happens.  I just hate change, especially when it’s unnecessary and the idea is flat out terrible.  I feel like I’m yelling at a wall with my proposal that is a complete no-brainer.  How could no one think of this or mention this?  It’s moving around three teams, it’s pretty much the most simple and obvious solution ever.

Does Gary Bettman think that eventually he will expand two teams out West to give them two 8-team divisions?  Where you going to put them?  Seattle and Kansas City?  Yeah that’ll work.  You just had a lockout because 30-teams said they weren’t making enough money, and now your bright idea is to shift to these divisions and add two more teams in non-hockey markets?  Newsflash Gary, unless your game magically grows at an exponential rate after you just tried to kill it (again), there is no chance that 32 teams splitting revenue will bring in a ton of money.

This idea is a disaster and while the Red Wings will love it, I don’t see anyone else loving it.  I don’t see how the Florida Panthers or Tampa Bay Lightning will love this.  Same goes for Colorado or Dallas.  All four of those teams will be travelling a ton.  Yes, it may cut costs for some teams, but what about rivalries?  How are the Red Wings just supposed to never play Chicago?  Only two games with Chicago each year is terrible.  I really hope this doesn’t go through, because this is just another brutal idea courtesy of the NHL.  No sports league has unbalanced divisions because it’s a bush league idea.  The MLB had been trying to fix their unbalanced AL and NL for years until they were finally able to move the Houston Astros.  I wish the NHL would figure their stuff out and learn how to actually function as a professional sports league.

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Realignment Map by Bill Turianski

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6 Responses to The Drastic NHL Realignment to Four Conferences is a Terrible Idea, so here’s a better plan

  1. TJ Nocar says:

    Better yet, why not use these divisions to split the extra teams up on each conference:

    Detroit, Chicago, Nashville, St Louis, Minnesota, Dallas, Winnipeg

    Colorado, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Phoenix, Anaheim, LA, San Jose

    Florida, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Washington, Columbus, Boston, NYI

    Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, NYR, Boston, New Jersey

  2. John Bullington says:

    Do I want to see the Red Wings play Toronto, Boston and Montreal several times a year and much less of St. Louis, Nashville and Columbus? YES! As a matter of fact HELL YES! The only reason that Detroit has been in the Western Conference was to boost attendance for most western teams. With LA being the Stanley Cup champion, San Jose and Vancouver having very good teams, the draw of the Wings is no longer necessary. While I would miss seeing Chicago as often, the tradeoff is excellent. Detroit is in the eastern time zone and were you to divide the United States into thirds (east, midwest and west) Detroit is in that eastern third. The East Division is where they have always belonged and the Detroit fans are tired of having roughly a third of the TV games starting one to three hours later in the evening. We have paid our dues.

    Regarding your statement that Detroit would have a playoff lock, I haven’t a clue as to your logic. They have made the playoffs for the past 20+ years in the west but if they do well in the east (by no means a given) it would be a bad thing? How does that make sense?

    This realignment is long overdue and should be implemented and as for your desire to see more of Nashville and Columbus — there’s always the NHL channel on cable.

  3. Hi, this is Bill from I would appreciate it if you credited my map (which first appeared here, ) and which you used on this post without crediting me and obliterating the ‘By Bill Turianski 2012’ credit, and put a link in to my site. That would be only fair, right? Or do you think it is OK to steal other people’s hard work and cut away the signature?

    • jweintra says:

      Hi Bill, I’m terribly sorry. I recently moved my blog from back to and it deleted a lot of my links on old posts. I had previously had a link to your website right before the image was shown. I have now added a credit to the bottom of the page as well. Thank you for bringing this to my attention and I’m sincerely sorry for not catching this egregious error.

  4. OK, jweintra, thanks very much for swiftly fixing that and for your well-mannered response. Sorry if I came across all snotty but there were 3 examples of this map being used and uncredited/linked to, and that was making me cranky.

    • jweintra says:

      I completely understand why you would be upset. Thank you again for bringing this to my attention and again, I’m sorry for not paying closer to attention and making sure everything had transferred properly.

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