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Naming The Divisions

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

What the NHL should be doing is naming the divisions or conferences (seven teams in the West and Central geographic areas and eight in the East) are Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe and either Mario Lemieux or Rocket Richard. Gretzky, Orr and Howe are the three greatest players with Lemieux arguably fourth and Richard has the scoring (most goals in a season) named after the storied Montreal winger.

Gretzky is the easiest fit for the grouping with Edmonton. He has a statue outside the rink here, he played in LA and coached in Phoenix.

Lemieux, the greatest Penguin, could head up the division with the New York area teams although the bitter rivals in Philly might not like being in a division named Lemieux.

Boston and Detroit are in the same division so Orr and Howe would have to fight it out there, I suppose. Richard was the ultimate Montreal player too so that’s three Hall of Famers and one division. I say go with Orr in division C, which brings us to B. Howe was never a Blackhawks but unless we suddenly come up with Hull for that one because Bobby played in Chicago and his boy Brett in St. Louis and Dallas, this one goes to Howe.

Surely the NHL can honour its greatest players as they went overboard with builders names years back.

Will they? I have my doubts–they could easily go with Pacific and Central, Atlantic and Can-East– but maybe the staid NHL will surprise me.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Primis's avatar

Flortheast forever.

Seriously though, Matheson’s rambling on the topic is, shall we say… barely coherent?  Call the Flortheast the Orr, but then the division Detroit is leaving the Howe?  Uhh, no.

His Can-East though does lead me to wonder if they’ll name the Flortheast the “Can-Am” or something though, and just keep the other 3 names.

Posted by Primis on 07/18/13 at 10:08 AM ET

Evilpens's avatar

sorry Gordie Howe is linked with Hockey forever But he wasn’t a better player than Mario

Posted by Evilpens on 07/18/13 at 10:10 AM ET


Duh, Chicago’s division should get Orr cause he is best known as a Blackhawks legend…

Posted by pstumba on 07/18/13 at 10:17 AM ET

Paul's avatar

sorry Gordie Howe is linked with Hockey forever But he wasn’t a better player than Mario

Posted by Evilpens on 07/18/13 at 10:10 AM ET

Am I going to have to ignore you, LOL.  I didn’t see Howe in his prime in the 50’s but been watching since the early 60’s, Howe hands down.

But of course we are all entitled to our opinion.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 07/18/13 at 10:26 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

EP is just trolling.

The NHL will stick to the geographic names. Gary’s tenure has been geared to making the sport not so hard to follow for those who don’t know the game. I’m almost surprised he hasn’t pushed for a 4th period to make hockey more like football and basketball.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 07/18/13 at 10:45 AM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

How in the hell can you name a Division Howe and it NOT have Detroit in it?

Fauxing Gary…

Bah. EP isn’t trolling. I wouldn’t doubt Mario may have a bit more finesse to his game than Howe, but to match both up in their prime? Howe would probably skate through Mario more than Mario skating around Howe.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 07/18/13 at 10:51 AM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

Posted by Evilpens on 07/18/13 at 10:10 AM ET

C’mon EP, you know that comparing players from different eras is a silly waste of time. 

I can’t go off first hand knowledge of Howe and Orr because I wasn’t alive or old enough to follow the game.  I’ve lived through Gretzky and Mario and can safely conclude that they are the two most dominant offensive players in my time. 

That said, my conversations with folks that have seen the game change much longer than I, historical accounts like the Legends of Hockey series, and statistical analysis of the state of the game within eras (ie: 6 teams, evolution of defense goal-tending,, etc)  lead me to the that Howe and Orr were more dominant players in their respective eras.

To keep things simple, I hope they go back to the conference and division naming conventions from 74-93.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 07/18/13 at 11:00 AM ET

Evilpens's avatar

I didn’t see Gordie Play in in his Prime & have already said His Name is Linked with Hockey forever& seems like 1 Hell of a Human too

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Posted by Evilpens on 07/18/13 at 11:49 AM ET

SYF's avatar

sorry Gordie Howe is linked with Hockey forever But he wasn’t a better player than Mario

Posted by Evilpens on 07/18/13 at 10:10 AM ET

They’re both power forwards with completely different skill sets to become the game’s greatest players thus proving either way wins.

Posted by SYF from A tall cool pint of Guinness on 07/18/13 at 01:02 PM ET


I just don’t really want my division named after an opposing team’s owner. Can you imagine the Flyers hosting a Lemieux division championship banner?

Why not name divisions after players posthumously so we don’t have to worry about offending the living or having a conflict of interest. I’m sure there are at least four players or coaches that would qualify.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 07/18/13 at 01:18 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Heh.  I have this sneaking suspicion that the NHL is gonna hold an auction for corporations to put their names on the divisions.

-Amway Division Champions.
-Raytheon Electronics Division Champions.
-USS Steel Division Champions.
-Oracle Division Champions.


Posted by SYF from A tall cool pint of Guinness on 07/18/13 at 01:36 PM ET

Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit's avatar

Jean Béliveau. May as well throw his name into the mix. My all time favorite Hab.

As a player, he won the Stanley Cup 10 times, and as an executive he was part of another seven championship teams, the most Stanley Cup victories by an individual to date.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit on 07/18/13 at 02:06 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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