Jul 7, 2011, 3:26 PM EDT
The NHL’s plans to realign the divisions next year and go to a new layout for the way the league is set up is an issue that’s got a lot of fans imaginations captured. After all, with the wants of three teams to move east in Columbus, Detroit, and Nashville as well as the need to get Winnipeg out of the Southeast Division, sprucing things up makes a world of sense.Of course, it’ll be tricky for the NHL to get things together in a way that will make everyone happy and while the talk of doing a balanced schedule will help make things a bit more even, laying teams out geographically helps the divisional layout.
While no one at the NHL is tipping their hand as to how things will go, luckily Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold took to the airwaves today on KFAN in Minneapolis on the Paul Allen Show with Kevin Gorg and very well may have tipped off for how the new Central Division will be laid out and how some of these new things will play out. (audio here, skip to 21 minute mark)
“Our division would include the Winnipeg Jets, us, the Blues, the Nashville Predators, the Dallas Stars, Chicago Blackhawks, and maybe the Columbus Blue Jackets… maybe not depending on if they go east or west. I am all in favor of that. I think that is a grand slam, home run, hat trick for our team.”
With that kind of divisional lay out that means we’ll see the Detroit Red Wings somewhere else. We’ll also see them separated from the Blackhawks. The decision over whether or not to send Columbus to the East is also up in the air with this layout. Nashville too seems to be getting worked over as well. The one difference here being that, without Columbus, the entire division exists in the Central time zone.
“We’re all Central Division now. All of our teams, except for Columbus, all of our teams will be Central Division. We’ll play less teams in Canada. We will play every team home and away at least one time.”
There’s the confirmation on the balanced schedule. No longer will it be up to a few years between visits from some teams in other conferences. That set up makes a lot more sense because it means getting the guaranteed one visit a year for Western teams from the likes of Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, and Steve Stamkos among others. Bringing the big stars to all the fans only makes good business sense.
As for how Leipold feels about being aligned with Winnipeg, he couldn’t be more excited. Oh yeah, he’s pretty fired up about the old Norris Division tie-ins too. There’s also a bittersweet slip of the tongue too.
“Everybody’s talking about it. We’d love to have Winnipeg. It’s a natural rivalry for us. The closest team in the NHL [for us] is Winnipeg. We’d love to have them in that division. I think with Chicago and St. Louis the old North Star divi… I mean Norris Division. Come on… How much fun is that?”
Hey, North Star Division would sound great to us just so long as the other divisions were named after defunct teams. Let’s just make sure they’re named after teams that have no chance of being resurrected in the future. Sorry Nordiques Division.
Of course with the Central Division mostly figured out, where do the rest of the teams go? Well, the Pacific Division and Western Conference seems to have itself figured out already.
Potential Central Division
Potential Pacific Division
That’s 15 teams in the conference with one division having seven teams and the other with eight, fitting what we’d learned before. Columbus being the “maybe” team there means that perhaps there’s discussion on whether or not it’ll be Columbus or Detroit that stays in the Central. No disrespect to either Columbus or Detroit, but that Central Division has a lot more “oomph” to it with Detroit there.
If that layout stays that way, however, that leaves the Eastern Conference with Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, Detroit, Florida, Montreal, New Jersey, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Toronto, and Washington. Figuring out a way to lay that out in a geographically sound way will be tricky with Carolina and the Florida teams being outliers. Perhaps something that’s more map-friendly would work out. Here’s our silly suggestion that borrows a bit from the ACC:
Possible Atlantic Division
Possible Mid-Atlantic Division
Our thinking here being that all the teams along the extreme east coast will all stick together and all the teams that find themselves a bit further out from the ocean can be piled up together. Mind you, this is a totally silly idea, but given the disproportionate difference between teams in the north and south the proposed idea to do a Northeast and South division might not work out.
All we know is that the Mid-Atlantic Division would be a bloodbath with the three Canadian teams, renewed Original Six wars with Detroit against Toronto and Montreal, and the Wings getting to play Pittsburgh more than a few times per year. Let that hate flow anew. Of course, if Detroit and Columbus swapped spots there, it’s still intriguing but potentially brutal for the Jackets.
We don’t know for sure that Leipold’s take on the Central Division is true and we won’t know until something is announced later on, but he sounded awfully convinced that this was how things would shake out and being that he’s an owner, he’s privy to that kind of information. Speculate away and see if you can come up with better ideas than these.
(Major thanks to PHT reader and commenter “whatagreatfootballmind” for the tip)
Apr 23, 2014, 9:27 PM EDT
We ask, you answer.
Apr 23, 2014, 9:11 PM EDT
He was punished for a knee-on-knee hit to Colorado’s Tyson Barrie.
Apr 23, 2014, 8:37 PM EDT
Chicago is trying to even the series.
Apr 23, 2014, 8:03 PM EDT
But Pittsburgh’s lead is far from secure.
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM EDT
He was second in the regular season scoring race.
Apr 23, 2014, 7:33 PM EDT
San Jose will go for the sweep on Thursday.
Apr 23, 2014, 7:03 PM EDT
Nick Schultz took his place.
Apr 23, 2014, 6:46 PM EDT
The game will start at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Apr 23, 2014, 6:17 PM EDT
Neither team has done a good job of playing with the lead.
Apr 23, 2014, 5:39 PM EDT
He made his series debut in the late stages of Game 3.
Apr 23, 2014, 4:33 PM EDT
“I do look cross-eyed for sure.”
Apr 23, 2014, 4:21 PM EDT
Patrick Roy made it official on Wednesday.
Apr 23, 2014, 3:22 PM EDT
There he is with Patrick Bordeleau’s glove in his face.
Apr 23, 2014, 2:43 PM EDT
Physical battle starting to take its toll.
Apr 23, 2014, 2:37 PM EDT
Are changes needed?
Apr 23, 2014, 2:33 PM EDT
All the goals came against Ilya Bryzgalov, which is worth mentioning.
Apr 23, 2014, 1:51 PM EDT
All games can be seen on either NBC, NBCSN or CNBC.
Apr 23, 2014, 1:26 PM EDT
First time he’s been scratched in the playoffs in 10 years.
Apr 23, 2014, 1:10 PM EDT
Two of the NHL’s best offenses have struggled with the man advantage.
Apr 23, 2014, 12:45 PM EDT
“That’s what made them successful because they believed in what they were doing.”
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