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Should There Be A Canadian Conference?

from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,

Canadian Conference: Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver.

Eastern Conference: Boston, Rangers, Islanders, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington, Carolina.

Midwest Conference: Detroit, Columbus, Chicago, St. Louis, Colorado, Minnesota, Buffalo, Nashville.

Sunshine Conference: Tampa Bay, Florida, Dallas, Anaheim, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Jose.

(If you like, you could create a Western Conference instead of a Sunshine Conference by flipping Colorado and Minnesota for Tampa Bay and Florida.)

Advantages: Canada produces a champion and a Canadian team is guaranteed to get at least as far as the semifinals ... NHL gets to create trophies for two more conferences, adding them to the Clarence Campbell and Prince of Wales.

Disadvantage: Some teams in the Canadian and Sunshine conferences won’t like the east-west travel ... Some conferences have seven teams, some have eight, meaning it’s easier for some teams to make the playoffs.

more realignment options…

Update 4:32pm ET (alanah): This observation from David Mayberry at the Star-Tribune

The Toronto Star’s article on shuffling conferences and divisions was solid - a good, easy-to-digest piece on a problem facing the league with the return of the Winnipeg Jets.

A graphic to accompany it was duck soup. Show fans, on a map, where teams would fall in the different options with logos, labels and borders.

The first version, shown with this blog post and posted online about 1 p.m. on Tuesday, showed the Colorado Avalanche in Wyoming and Denver somewhere near the Powder River. After some Twitter traffic (and perhaps a few calls from Colorado), the graphic was fixed by the folks in Toronto about 90 minutes later.

The Wyoming Avs? Maybe the Star knows something we don’t… wink

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Comments

TheFreak's avatar

Seems like his option #3 looks decent.

Having Canada as it’s own conference is just silly. At that point, why not just let them be their own league like the KHL?

Conference re-alignment probably could have happened earlier but with few teams still up for sale, NHL probably doesn’t want to draw the boundaries just yet.

Just move Phoenix to Kansas City.

Posted by TheFreak on 07/13/11 at 11:17 AM ET

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That first option is terrible. So mich for containing travel and associated costs. That’s got 3/4 of the league traveling nearly coast to coast.

Posted by teldar on 07/13/11 at 11:22 AM ET

cs6687's avatar

Realigning the league isn’t that hard. These divisions keep all major rivalries intact. Top four teams from each division make the playoffs. That reduces travel for each division come playoff time.

Northeast: BOS, BUF, MTL, OTT, TOR, CAR, FLA, TB

Atlantic: CBJ, NJ, NYI, NYR, PHI, PIT, WSH

Central: CHI, DAL, DET, MIN, NSH, STL, WPG

Pacific: ANA, CGY, COL, DAL, EDM, LA, PHX, VAN

Posted by cs6687 on 07/13/11 at 11:23 AM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

Just move Phoenix to Kansas City.

Honestly being a KC resident, I’d love to have any team here in town…. but it’s not a hockey city and the same issues or low attendance & $$$ problems would arise here sooner than later.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 07/13/11 at 11:25 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Advantages: Canada produces a champion and a Canadian team is guaranteed to get at least as far as the semifinals

That’s not really an advantage to anybody who doesn’t care about this horribly stupid concept that the country in which a team plays its home games is important.  if that’s an advantage, let’s go even farther with it. How about all of the Canadian teams in one conference and all of the American teams in another?  That way, there is a guarantee that the Cup Final will have a Canadian team in it EVERY YEAR! Even better, all Canadian teams are guaranteed a playoff spot under this horrible realignment.

Honestly being a KC resident, I’d love to have any team here in town…. but it’s not a hockey city and the same issues or low attendance & $$$ problems would arise here sooner than later.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 on 07/13/11 at 09:25 AM ET

Ditto.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/13/11 at 11:42 AM ET

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My initial reaction was that an all Canadian Conference is a bad idea. But I am warming to it more and more. Potential benefits include:

1) Better for TV, no games in the US against Winnipeg to drag down ratings.
2) You could expand all they want in the conference, at two hundred plus million a pop, makes money for everyone. Also be able to finally get teams in those hockey hotbeds of Red Deer, Yellow Knife and White Horse.
3) Create a new trophy: The Queen Elizabeth II Cup depicting a giant beaver wearing a gonch holding a can of Molson Canadian.
4) Vancouver would never get a road game in its time zone, guaranteeing there will never be another riot after losing the Stanley Cup, because they will never be in the final again.
5) They could have a special rule that no foreigners could play in the conference, thereby reducing the need for Racist in Chief Don Cherry having to slag (Canadian term, I am translating so everyone understands what I am saying) Ovechkin. And they could make him Commissioner, that way Toronto could win every year.
6) The Prime Minister wouldn’t have to travel to Boston to see a Championship game.

All in all, I like it…..

Posted by timbits on 07/13/11 at 12:01 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Just move Phoenix to Kansas City.

Honestly being a KC resident, I’d love to have any team here in town…. but it’s not a hockey city and the same issues or low attendance & $$$ problems would arise here sooner than later.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 on 07/13/11 at 09:25 AM ET

Same for Las Vegas.  Mayor Oscar Goodman is at his constitutionally-mandated term limit so it would be interesting to see if Las Vegas’ new mayor is going to follow up on this ambition.

I seriously hope not.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 07/13/11 at 12:23 PM ET

phillyd's avatar

Phoenix needs to resolve itself before they go anywhere near realignment. I still think moving Nashville into Atlanta’s spot in the SE, Minny to the Central for Nashville and Winnipeg to Minny’s spot in the Northwest is the easiest thing to do and makes the most sense if you can’t move both Detroit and Columbus.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 07/13/11 at 12:32 PM ET

SnLO's avatar

Just move Phoenix to Kansas City.

Same for Las Vegas

Should just rename the Yotes to something like “Wasteland Wanderers” or “Desert Nomads” and like every five years they relocate. So, they move from Phoenix to KC, then to Vegas, then to SLC, then OKC, then maybe Phoenix again or some other city. That way once the newness wears off and the populace tires of the ineptitude, the team relocates and restarts the cycle.

Posted by SnLO from the sub great-white north on 07/13/11 at 12:33 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

I like Evil Pens and Craig Leopold’s proposals.  Either of ‘em seems relatively logical, something we don’t associate with the NHL these days.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 07/13/11 at 01:15 PM ET

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You have to wonder how serious these writers are about their ideas or are they just writing a column for the sake of writing a column?

Canadian and Sunshine conferences are idioitic. Not only is travel bad but game times for TV is bad for almost every team. Teams need to play in as close as possible to their own time zone. Just because Winnipeg is in Canada doesn’t mean they should be placed in the current Northwest division either. Winnipeg would be playing road games only in Mountain and Pacific time and never in their own central time zone. It was bad before and would be bad now. Playing in an all Canadian conference would even be worse. The idea of Winnipeg playing in a central conference or division would give fans at home the chance to watch their team play on TV without late games interfering with school or work the next day.

There are not enough teams in the west to make a perfect system, some teams will fall out of their time zone by an hour but please let us not get crazy and have teams on different coasts in the same conferences. It is not practical for travel or television viewing.

Posted by Puckbubba from FL. on 07/13/11 at 01:17 PM ET

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Advantages: Canada produces a champion and a Canadian team is guaranteed to get at least as far as the semifinals ...

a) Canada produces a champion?  How does this guarantee that?  Or do they mean a conference champion?  Because Canada produced a conference champion already this year.

b) A Canadian team has made it to the semifinals in 7 of the last 9 years, so what would this help?  It would make sure that a Canadian team makes the finals in all 9 of the next 9 seasons while guaranteeing that there will never be a Cup Finals featuring two Canadian teams.  I guess the NHL would love that because nobody in the US would watch an All-Canadian, but how does that help people who would root for the Canadian team?

Posted by Garth on 07/13/11 at 01:58 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

Assuming four teams from each conference would make the playoffs and that the first two rounds would be within each conference, TSN and CBC would love this because a Canadian team would be guaranteed a spot in the third round (old conference finals) every single season.

Like someone said, I would perhaps swap MN and CO with the two Florida teams to balance the travel more equitably.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 07/13/11 at 02:29 PM ET

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What happens when the new Jets have to move back to the States?

Posted by Chris on 07/13/11 at 02:38 PM ET

Avatar

That’s not really an advantage to anybody who doesn’t care about this horribly stupid concept that the country in which a team plays its home games is important.  if that’s an advantage, let’s go even farther with it. How about all of the Canadian teams in one conference and all of the American teams in another?  That way, there is a guarantee that the Cup Final will have a Canadian team in it EVERY YEAR! Even better, all Canadian teams are guaranteed a playoff spot under this horrible realignment.
Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/13/11 at 09:42 AM ET

I wouldn’t want to stomach all the articles from up North claiming the ‘Canadian division’ is better/persecuted/super popular/ignored by NBC etc under this realignment.

Posted by steviesteve on 07/13/11 at 02:38 PM ET

Avatar

A Canadian conference would be better for tv? Endless match-ups involving Edmonton and Ottawa would drive people to cut off their cable. HNIC is pretty much unwatch-able now.

Posted by Tiger Al on 07/13/11 at 06:33 PM ET

Alanah McGinley's avatar

Added an update above.  Apparently the possibility of the Wyoming Avs didn’t go over well in Denver… smile

Posted by Alanah McGinley from British Columbia on 07/13/11 at 06:35 PM ET

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It seems to me that option three is the most reasonable one. It makes sense to me, at least. Well, it makes the most sense out of the three options, anyway.

Posted by Tom on 07/13/11 at 07:10 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Should just rename the Yotes to something like “Wasteland Wanderers” or “Desert Nomads” and like every five years they relocate. So, they move from Phoenix to KC, then to Vegas, then to SLC, then OKC, then maybe Phoenix again or some other city. That way once the newness wears off and the populace tires of the ineptitude, the team relocates and restarts the cycle.

Posted by SnLO from Meeeshegan on 07/13/11 at 10:33 AM ET

Get an oil Sheikh from Saudi Arabia and the circle’s complete.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 07/13/11 at 10:43 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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