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Anyone Feel Sorry For The Rangers, Islanders Or Devils?

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

Understand this: The road to the Stanley Cup, let alone to the playoffs, will become exponentially more difficult for the Rangers, Islanders and Devils to travel upon inception next season of the NHL’s four-conference radical realignment plan that was overwhelmingly passed Monday night by the Board of Governors.

Everything is cyclical in sports, that’s true — one only has to consider how dramatically the once-mighty Devils have fallen over the past few seasons to support that axiom — but it doesn’t take a seer to see the degree of difficulty that will confront our three local teams beginning in 2012-13.

There will be fratricide in the as-yet-unnamed conference in which the Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Flyers, Penguins, Capitals and Hurricanes will compete for four playoff spots and then further compete in the first two rounds of the tournament in a return to the postseason format that essentially existed from 1981-1993.

In simple terms: In order for the Rangers, Islanders and Devils to all make the playoffs (a happenstance about as rare anyway as John Tortorella patting Sean Avery on the back, the trifecta occurring just three times since the Colorado Rockies moved to New Jersey in 1982), then two out of three among the Flyers, Penguins and Capitals would have to miss.


Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Evilpens's avatar


Posted by Evilpens on 12/07/11 at 01:09 PM ET

phillyd's avatar

Actually, as a Flyers fan (and as a Pens fan you should feel this way too), this is the same arguments made in the old Prince of Whales conference. The Adams division was always a cake walk to get into the playoffs as it was usually Montreal, Buffalo, Boston, and whoever wasn’t so horrendous between the Whalers and Nordiques while the Patrick Division was extremely difficult (granted the Devils were usually bottom of the barrel most of those years) to get into the playoffs with and then to even get out of to the conference finals. I just don’t like the new format and would rather see two 15 team “leagues” where top 8 make the playoffs then this new format.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 12/07/11 at 01:17 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Eh would you like to be out west where 4 of 8 Make it & there will be good teams out there that won’t make it either

It is what it is

You can Whine like Brooks does all the time or just go about your business & make the playoffs

Posted by Evilpens on 12/07/11 at 01:21 PM ET

phillyd's avatar

That’s really why I don’t like it. I can’t wait for the first time in this new format when 6 teams from a “conference” have more points than one playoff team from another conference yet 2 of them aren’t making the playoffs. If they’re going to mess around with it this much, might as well go to the 3-point win also, 3 for regulation, 2 for overtime/shoot out win, 1 for overtime/shootout loss, 0 for regulation loss. At least we’d get a fairer separation of teams.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 12/07/11 at 01:28 PM ET

phillyd's avatar

And you are correct with the west. Just going back the last two years, the two eastern conferences would’ve still produced the same 8 teams (just going off point totals). But in the two western, in 2011, Dallas would’ve been in and Los Angeles out. In 2010, St. Louis would’ve been in and Colorado out. In 2009, in the east, Carolina and the Rangers would’ve been out and Buffalo and Florida would’ve been in but the west would’ve been the same. I know it’ll be different because of schedules, etc., but just looking at recent history with these makeup and you can see it’s gonna happen and the same arguments made in the 80s and early 90s which led to the switch to 3 division winners and top 5 afterwards are going to be made and it’ll be switched up again.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 12/07/11 at 01:43 PM ET


The challenges the NYC Metro teams will face are no greater than any other team in any other division. Actually, the travel is better than it will be for some other teams (all divisional teams in a small area), and with 7 teams, less competition. This is just characteristically myopic analysis from Brooks. With the Penguins and cap limit spending teams in Philly, NYC, and WSH it will be tough for the smaller teams to keep up but the same could be said in every other division.

Repetition, not competition, is certain to increase.

Posted by Dave on 12/07/11 at 02:38 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

More than half a team’s games now will be against opponents with whom they are not competing for a playoff spot.

If you’re worried about a cupcake conference having it easier, then earn all 28 or 32 points against them. That will go a long way toward helping you overcome how tough your own conference is.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/07/11 at 03:08 PM ET

phillyd's avatar

More than half a team’s games now will be against opponents with whom they are not competing for a playoff spot.

And that’s why I want the 3 point total game. Too many of these cross-conference games go to OT so each team gets a point but it doesn’t matter to them that the other team got one point because they aren’t competing against them for a playoff spot.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 12/07/11 at 03:35 PM ET

HockeyTownTodd's avatar

Posted by phillyd from New Jersey

The solution is so simple, that apparently nobody can grasp it…..

Nothing for a tie.  Only count wins.  If it is still tied after the OT, sorry fellas…..better luck next time.

The current game is cheating fans out of some good hockey in most games, as both teams play for that one point in the third period.  And when they get to OT, they already have their one point so they play to go to the shootout looking for another easy point.

nothing for a tie
no shootouts.

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 12/07/11 at 05:15 PM ET

phillyd's avatar

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 12/07/11 at 02:15 PM ET

While I agree with you, if there’s still 4-on-4 and/or a shootout, I don’t believe in a team losing a point due to losing in a gimmicky (and that’s what both are) situation. I’d rather see ties come back and each team get a point for a tie, 2 for a win, and 0 for a loss regardless of when it occurred with the old 5on5 OT format then this whole 2 for a win, 1 for an OT/SO loss, etc.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 12/07/11 at 05:47 PM ET


The demise of the Islanders and the coming demise of the Devils is not good for hockey.  A strong rivalry among these three teams has made for great hockey in the past.  If all three franchises are respectable watching them battle it out, even for a playoff spot, is great hockey.

Posted by 13 user names on 12/07/11 at 08:38 PM ET


boohoo! The west has had this problem for years. Join the club!

Posted by timbits on 12/08/11 at 01:15 AM ET


Whiny bitches of the East. That’s about the only problem with the realignment.

I would have been happy had they put detroit and columbus in the east and made every other team rotate for about 10 years each into the western conference. Can you imagine the screaming if a team from 150 miles east of columbus or detroit had to go to the west coast 4 times a year for protracted road trips?

Everyone KNEW Detroit would never get to the east because the East’s governors would never want the larger divisions and the threat of having to play the Wings all the time. And before fans of other teams bash me for saying that, what team do you think is the measuring stick of the league? It sure as hell isn’t the Islanders, or even the Rangers.

This is the best possible compromise. Detroit and Columbus are still the only teams in the eastern time zone not playing in an eastern based conference, which stinks, but at least I’m not going to have to stay up until 1am trying to watch the end of a wings game anymore unless it’s a playoff game.

And Phillyd, two 15 team conferences still absolutely screws the teams in the east who are forced to play in the west. And the teams from the Central as well. This is the only thing that’s close to fair for the central time zone teams, and the only possible thing that is remotely close to fair for detroit and columbus that ever would have happened. That is, unless you would have liked to have seen Philly play in the western conference for a couple years to see how terrible that is.Again, this still screws some teams and makes it easier for every team in the east than in the west to get into the playoffs.

I fail to feel any sympathy for any east team with these decisions for realignment.

Posted by teldar on 12/08/11 at 01:35 AM ET

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